Navy secretary announces 'deeper review' into USS Theodore Roosevelt after ousted captain's firing

Capt. Brett Crozier
(Image credit: U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The Navy recently recommended that the captain who was ousted after warning about a coronavirus outbreak on his ship be reinstated, but that decision has now been put off while a "deeper review" takes place.

Adm. Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, last week recommended that Capt. Brett Crozier be reinstated after he was relieved of command over a letter he wrote warning about a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

On Wednesday, however, Acting Navy Secretary James McPherson said that after speaking to Gilday about his recommendation, he has "unanswered questions" from the initial inquiry that "can only be answered by a deeper review." McPherson said he's ordering Gilday "to conduct a follow-on command investigation" to "provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt."

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Then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly had criticized Crozier for sending his letter, which leaked to the press, to a "broad array of people." Modly later resigned after describing Crozier as "too naive or too stupid" to run the ship.

News of the review came after Politico reported that Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley recommended to Defense Secretary Mark Esper that a decision on Crozier's reinstatement be deferred while a fuller investigation is opened. McPherson reportedly agreed with Gilday at first about reinstating Crozier but changed his mind based on Milley's recommendation. According to Politico, Milley thought "that a larger investigation should be conducted" but he "was not against Crozier being reinstated." The Associated Press reports the new investigation is intended to not last more than 30 days.

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