Revisiting the Navy’s Moral Compass: Has Commanding Officer Conduct Improved?

  • Captain Jason A. Vogt

This paper builds upon Captain Mark F. Light’s Strategy Research Project “The Navy’s Moral Compass” by investigating steps taken by the US Navy addressing commanding officer misconduct. Reviewing Captain Light’s findings, as well as findings of a recent Naval Inspector General report, this paper explores Navy Leadership initiatives such as the Charge of Command and Command Qualification Program along with analysis of statistics of Navy commanding officer firings from 2010 through 2013. The paper reviews previous recommendations and their effect on commanding officer misconduct. While some progress is apparent, the paper reviews additional steps for the Navy to consider and makes recommendations calling for the Navy to provide future transparency and consistency regarding data involving commanding officer misconduct, potential dissuasive measures to consider in the future and a call for additional and more thorough studies on the subject. By taking a fix of where the Navy stands regarding commanding officer misconduct, this paper will define today what has succeeded, what has not, and provide a path to the next level of debate regarding the Navy’s policies, standards, and ethics for commanding officers.