In response to the torrent of scandals that have been hitting the Navy SEAL community of late, the top Navy SEAL has decided to take a knee and reflect on the force’s ethos and future. Rear Admiral Collin Green, commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), has commissioned an internal investigation to determine why the Navy SEAL community has been repeatedly afflicted with scandals.
“[We intend to review] what we’re doing in the schoolhouse, what we’re not doing, what we’re doing relative to leader development and hard ethical decisions, combat ethics, and seeing if we’re addressing that,” said Adm. Green.
The most prominent case that is currently casting a pall over the Navy SEAL community is the war crimes court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. Aside from the questionable nature of Chief Gallagher’s actions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq, the court-martial process has divided the SEAL community. Many frogmen have come out in support of Chief Gallagher—who they perceive as a combat-proven leader—while others have accused him of befouling the reputation of the Navy SEALs.
Adm. Green highlighted the fact that America has been at war for almost two decades. Navy SEALs, alongside the rest of America’s special operations forces (SOF), have been at the forefront of the fight, first against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, then against the Sunni and Shia insurgents during the Iraq War, and finally against the Islamic State (IS).
“We are looking hard, as a learning organization, to self-assess, to see if we are assessing and selecting the right people, and are we holding them accountable,” added Adm. Green.
Chief Gallagher’s court-martial has been postponed for three months at the request of the defense attorneys. The rationale behind the request was the need to examine thousands of pages of documents and witnesses’ transcripts that have emerged. Moreover, the defense attorneys have been looking to get an Iraqi general officer who commanded the emergency response division (ERD)—the unit with which the SEALs of Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7 worked during their deployment—to testify. The defense hopes that the Iraqi general’s testimony will greatly assist Chief Gallagher. It is important to note, however, that the ERD has also been accused of committing war crimes.
Chief Gallagher hasn’t been the only SEAL to bring the community to the limelight for the wrong reasons. Two SEAL Team 6 operators are under arrest and await trial for allegedly murdering Special Forces Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar.
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