‘We Have a Problem’: Letter from Naval Special Warfare Command CO to Force

August 1, 2019 4:44 PM - Updated: August 1, 2019 5:14 PM

The following is the July 25, 2019 letter from Naval Special Warfare commander Rear Adm. Collin Green to the members of Naval Special Warfare command.

From: Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command
To: Naval Special Warfare


1. In our fast paced operational environment, the behavior of our people and the integrity of our organization are continually being tested. The trust placed in Naval Special Warfare by our military and civilian leaders, the TSOCs, and ultimately the American people must never be taken for granted. The responsibility for ethical and professional behavior must be taken seriously — by everyone, at every level of our organization.

2. We have a problem. Some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason, our NSW culture is being questioned. I don’t know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately. Good order and discipline is the foundation for every military organization and it is a leadership responsibility. As Commander, I own it. As Commodores, you also own it. We must now take a proactive approach to prevent the next breach of ethical and professional behavior in our formations, instead of continuing on our current consequence management approach.

3. By 7 August 2019, I am directing you to provide I written commander’s estimate that describes how you and your command team will develop a plan of action that is informed by “Naval Special Warfare’s Force Ethics Assessment” dated 22 March 2019. This document gives a holistic assessment of the community to include a way forward. As professional development, I direct reading the first 2 chapters of “A Tactical Ethic ” by Dick Couch. This book describes how we have had these problems in the past. and thus provides a case study that we can use to recalibrate our culture and regain our credibility.

4. Additionally, I am directing you to engage everyone in your formations (in garrison and deployed) within the next 2 weeks on this issue; I want all hands to understand that “we have a problem” and that this is our main effort and my top priority. I will review and consider your recommended actions to develop my direction and way ahead to the Naval Special Warfare enterprise.

5. Your commander’s estimate will include:

  • a. Develop a problem statement from lite ECH III and below perspective.
  • b. Develop recommendations to ensure the NSW culture is aligned with our ETHOS.
  • c. Develop a plus for “buy in” from the ranks, with a sense of urgency.
  • d. Describe your plan for intrusive leadership at the ECH Ill and below level.

6. I expect good order and discipline to be instilled in and maintained by everyone in NSW. I know our leaders (officers and non-commissioned officers) are fully capable to take this on and I will strive to provide inspired arid inspiring leadership.


Download the document here.

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