Navy SEAL Boss Orders Discipline Crackdown After Embarrassing Scandals

Navy Rear Adm. Collin P. Green addresses a crowd March 3, 2017, at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. He is now the head of Naval Special Warfare. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite)
Navy Rear Adm. Collin P. Green addresses a crowd March 3, 2017, at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. He is now the head of Naval Special Warfare. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite)

Discipline trackers, intrusive leadership and routine inspections: Those are just some of the changes coming to the Naval Special Warfare community after a host of scandals led to an ethics review and a call to restore good order.

Rear Adm. Collin Green sent a four-page memo to his senior leaders this week, ordering a host of changes within the Navy SEAL community, which has been rocked by sexual assault allegations, high-profile legal battles and drug use in the ranks.

The force, Green wrote in a memo first posted by CNN, has drifted from its core values of honor, courage and commitment "due to a lack of action at all levels of Leadership." The problems have broken down the trust SEALs have earned from their military and civilian leaders and the American people, Green said.

"All Hands will address this issue with urgent, effective and active leadership," he said. "This drift ends now."

Officials at Naval Special Warfare Command could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Green's memo was issued less than three weeks after he told the force they had a problem, calling on all personnel to clean up their behavior. A platoon had just been booted from Iraq over allegations of sexual misconduct and drinking in the war zone. There were also reports of cocaine use in one SEAL team and allegations that a member of another tricked a woman into sending nude photos.

There have also been high-profile legal cases, including that of Chief Special Warfare Operators Adam Matthews and Anthony DeDolph in connection to the death of an Army staff sergeant, and Special Warfare Operator Eddie Gallagher was recently found guilty of wrongfully posing for a photo with a human casualty.

Green is cracking down on bad behavior, calling for a return to routine inspections including strict enforcement of all Navy grooming and uniform standards.

The use and distribution of all unofficial unit insignia, including logos and patches, is banned. Only those with special approval under formal Navy regulations will be allowed to stray from the standard-issue uniform items.

Green also wants to be personally informed when anyone above the rank of E-6 is accused of misbehavior. It's possible those sailors could be reprimanded directly by the commander, raising questions about whether those cases had been mismanaged in the past.

"I reserve the right to withhold all Non-Judicial Punishment authority for those reports at my level as I deem appropriate," Green wrote.

Within the next 30 days, Green also wants a force-wide accountability tracker that will ensure transparency of all disciplinary problems across the command. And leaders must be "intrusive," he said, and assign only the right people to run drug tests and lead suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention and response programs.

SEALs told investigators last year they were able to skirt drug tests easily, Navy Times reported this summer, with operators referring to them as a "joke." And at least one member of the team booted from Iraq last month was accused of sexual assault.

The Navy SEALs will retain only their best, Green said, keeping quality over quantity. He says he wants only the "right leaders that demonstrate adherence to the highest standards."

More SEALs will be added to the ranks only after they ensure they have groomed the right number of leaders who have adequate training, certifications, and the "highest standards of character and competence," Green said.

There will be peer reviews, legal training, lessons on naval special warfare heritage and a leadership development program.

The SEALs' mission of taking on terrorists, rogue nations and peer adversaries is too important to have anyone compromising their values or standards, the memo states. Everyone in the command must "right the ship and remain the Force our Nation Expects," Green said.

"We own the problem and the solution," he said.

--Gina Harkins can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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