U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Collin Green has distributed a letter to the leadership within the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) command structure in which he acknowledges, “We have a problem.”
CNN was the first news outlet to obtain the letter in which Admiral Green states, “Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline.” He adds that the SEAL community and culture “is being questioned” with good reason after countless high-profile instances of war crimes, allegations of misbehavior, and loss of life, among other missteps.
Years of fighting multiple wars has led to indescribable stresses on the Navy SEAL community, and Admiral Green is right to acknowledge that something must be done. The shocking thing is that after all these years, he still hasn’t seen enough to conclude that there is, without a doubt, a cultural problem within the SEAL community – not just “a good order and discipline problem.”
Along with NEWSREP, many outlets including CNN, The Intercept, San Diego Tribune, The New York Times, Navy Times, CBS, The Washington Post, and countless others have for years reported on unethical and unprofessional behavior by SEALs and their commands. The Navy SEAL community certainly isn’t the only special operations group to encounter these issues that are sadly expected to occur on a somewhat regular basis these days, but they’re easily the most well-known and widespread. If Admiral Green hasn’t figured out by now that there is a cultural problem within NSW, then maybe he never will.
Here are a few – of many possible – examples that illustrate the cultural issues that have been well-known since at least 2012:
- CBS News – Gun trafficking case gets ex-Navy SEAL 18 years – July 2012
- The New York Times – SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines – June 2015
- NEWSREP – SEAL Training homicide: Heads will roll at BUD/S – July 2016
- The Intercept – The Crimes of SEAL Team 6 – January 2017
- NEWSREP – Military leadership to blame for SEAL Team Six war crimes – January 2017
- The Washington Post – Navy promotes SEAL commander in defiance of Congress – March 2017
- LA Times – No charges in drowning of Navy SEAL candidate – April 2017
- CBS Evening News – Navy SEAL drug use “staggering,” investigation finds – April 2017
- San Diego Union Tribune – Navy SEAL commando pleads guilty to sex crime against child – September 2017
- NEWSREP – SEALs charged with Green Beret murder in Mali, six years after another case involving soldier deaths and Malian prostitutes – November 2018
- Navy Times – War crimes case expands to SEAL Team 6 – March 2019
The SEAL and overall NSW community would be better off if Admiral Green would finally just recognize the problem for what it is – a cultural issue – so that a remedy can be put in place. The men and women who are serving in or supporting the NSW community deserve better.