Friday, March 4, 2011

Rear Adm. Ron Horton Fired

I did not see this coming, and appreciate the explanation as a continuation of the theme towards demanding a professional command environment in the US Navy.

Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Patrick M. Walsh removed Rear Adm. Ron Horton, Commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific, from command March 3 for loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Walsh based his decision on the findings of the investigation into the production and broadcast of inappropriate videos aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Rear Adm. Horton, who was the commanding officer of USS Enterprise during the period when inappropriate videos were produced and aired between May and December 2007, was determined to be derelict in the performance of his duties. Specifically, for failing to: (1) hold himself responsible for the professional decorum of the ship and with it, the obligation to play an active role in the command climate for the crew; (2) provide adequate guidance and oversight; and (3) take prudent measures to ensure compliance with Navy standards.

"There is no higher responsibility in the U.S. Navy than that of command. Individuals in command are expected to uphold the Navy's core values of honor, courage, and commitment which includes maintaining a command climate based on professionalism and respect," said Walsh.

The U.S. Navy holds those in positions of command to very high standards and accountable when those standards are not met. When a commanding officer is found to be derelict in the performance of his duties and his superior loses confidence in his judgment and ability to lead, the commanding officer is removed from command.
I have no doubt this was a difficult decision. Fleet Forces Command is being remarkably transparent with their investigation and has put online all kinds of information related to the investigation.

The hardest thing for any large organization to do is self correct. I have heard from both cynics and optimists on this subject. The cynic says that ADM Harvey and ADM Walsh are attempting to stand out because the CNO announcement is rumored to be only a few weeks away, and both are naturally on the short list.

I reject that, because I am an optimist. I believe these difficult decisions reflect the judgment of thoughtful leaders who are genuinely interested in what is best for the Navy.

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