Executive Officer of Secretive Navy Submarine Fired Due to Loss of Confidence

Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Cebik is promoted at the U.S. Capitol in 2016. He was relieved from his post Aug. 20, 2019. (Rep. Joe Courtney's office via Facebook)
Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Cebik is promoted at the U.S. Capitol in 2016. He was relieved of his post Aug. 20, 2019. (Rep. Joe Courtney's office via Facebook)

The second in command aboard one of the Navy's most secretive submarines has been removed from his job -- the fifth leader to be relieved for command so far in August in a string of firings service officials say are unrelated.

Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Cebik, the executive officer of the fast-attack submarine Jimmy Carter, was relieved of command on Monday following "a loss of confidence in his personal judgment," Cmdr. Cynthia Fields, a spokeswoman for Submarine Forces Pacific, said. Fields declined to provide additional details about Cebik's relief, saying only that all Navy leaders are held accountable when standards are not met.

"Executive officers are entrusted with significant responsibilities to their Sailors and their ships, and are expected to maintain the Navy's high standards for leadership," she said in an emailed statement. "They must demonstrate character and competence in their conduct at all times."

Cebik was relieved by Capt. Lincoln Reifsteck, commander of Submarine Development Squadron Five.

The former executive officer has been administratively reassigned to Reifsteck's command. Lt. Cmdr. Robert Osborne has replaced Cebik as the Jimmy Carter's executive officer, Fields said.

Cebik is at least the fifth senior Navy leader to be relieved from his post this month -- and the third to be removed from his job on Tuesday. None of the reliefs are related, Lt. Samuel Boyle, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon said.

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Two Japan-based surface officers were relieved of command on Tuesday.

Capt. Tadd Gorman was removed from his position as commanding officer of the guided-missile cruiser Antietam over a loss of confidence in Gorman's "personal judgment and ability to command" following a command investigation. Lt. Cmdr. Randall Clemons was relieved of command as executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer McCampbell "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill his responsibilities.

Last week, Capt. Theron Toole, the commanding officer of the Florida-based Navy Medicine Operational Training Center was also removed from his job over a loss of confidence in his ability to lead. And Rear Adm. Stephen Williamson was axed from his job as director of industrial operations at the Washington, D.C.-based Naval Sea Systems Command after an investigation found he was having an inappropriate personal relationship.

Cebik reported to the Jimmy Carter, which carries out some of the Navy's most covert missions, in April 2018. A prior-enlisted sailor, Cebik served on the fast-attack sub Pasadena and ballistic-missile sub Nevada, according to his official records.

He was promoted to his current rank in 2016 and completed training at the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center in Rhode Island a month before reporting to the Jimmy Carter.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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