Some Follow-up on Richard V. Spencer’s Firing as Secretary of the Navy

Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher embraces his wife, Andrea Gallagher, after leaving a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in San Diego. The decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)

Richard Spencer has been spinning his firing, most recently on CBS News:

Spencer stepped down at the request of Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday amid an ongoing controversy over Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, whose case attracted President Trump’s attention.


Esper told reporters Monday that he fired Spencer after “losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor.” He accused Spencer of secretly proposing a deal to the White House that would allow Gallagher to retire and retain his Trident pin, which denotes his status as a SEAL, a move Esper said was “completely contrary” to what the two had discussed.

In an interview Monday, Spencer told CBS News he spoke with White House counsel Pat Cipollone on November 15 and proposed an arrangement in which Gallagher would be allowed to retire as a SEAL if the president agreed not to intervene in the case and “let the Navy do its administrative work.” Spencer said Cipollone called back the same day to decline the offer, saying the president would be involved.

“In order to preserve the resiliency of the naval institution, I had to step up and do something when it came to the Gallagher case,” Spencer said.

Read the rest and watch the interview here if you like. Yeah, he hides behind a desire to “preserve the resiliency of the naval institution” as his excuse for insubordination. As a former Marine, he should have known and understood “commander’s intent.” The President clearly conveyed his intentions when he granted clemency to SOCS Eddie Gallagher. It was obvious even to those who have never served in the military!

For those who’ve never served in uniform, here is what “commander’s intent” means and how it is used to accomplish the mission:


Fundamentally, the concept of intent rests on the notion that the reason a commander assigns a task, that is, its purpose, is more important than the task. The idea is to provide the why of a mission. If circumstances dictate, subordinate commanders may disregard the assigned task so long as they focus on accomplishing the purpose.

The official [Army] definition for the term states: A concise expression of the purpose of the operation and the desired end state that serves as the initial impetus for the planning process.

Read the rest here. In this case, the President as Commander-in-Chief of the US military conveyed his express intentions regarding SOCS Gallagher by granting him clemency. That should have been crystal clear to the Navy chain of command, who continued to pursue administrative steps to take Chief Gallagher’s trident after clemency was granted.

Here is commentary from CAPT Joe John, Chairman of Combat Veterans for Congress PAC, as extracted from an email exchange with retired Navy SEALs on the subject of SECNAV Spencer’s firing: (reprinted here with permission from CAPT John)

From: CAPT Joe John

To: Various Retired Navy SEALs

Unfortunately, the SECNAV [Spencer] did nothing to prevent Navy JAGC, NCIS, NSWG-1, and RADM Green’s conti9inued abuse and terrorizing of SOCS Gallagher, his wife, and children while Chief Gallagher was in the brig. NSWG-1 should have never turned a blind eye when innocent dependents were abused by heavily armed military personnel who dragged them into the street in their underwear! We’ve been monitoring SOCS Eddie Gallagher case since he was charged. The information at this link outlines the misconduct, abuse, retribution, violation of law, and retaliatory actions by Navy JAGC, NCIS, NSWG-1, and RADM Green. Although 12 members of the SEAL platoon were photographed with a dead terrorist, Chief Gallagher was the “only” SEAL whose rank was reduced for being in that photo.


The NSWG-1 repeatedly allowed NCIS to violate Chief Gallagher’s rights and allowed them to abuse him, and even allowed the continued abuse of Chief Gallagher after he was found “not guilty” of the charges in his Courts Martial; and the Commander-in-Chief reinstated his rank following the “not guilty” verdict. Enlisted personnel in NSWG-1 witnessed Green’s public “in your face” insubordination toward the Commander-in-Chief after President Trump reinstated Chief Gallagher rank.

Green with the support of SECNAV announced that he planned to remove the Chief Gallagher’s Trident for being in the photo while ignoring the 11 other SEALs who were also in that photo.  Green reportedly vowed that he will either resign or be fired rather than follow President Donald Trump’s instructions to stop all efforts to revoke Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher’s Trident. Unfortunately, by his actions over a one-year period, Green has demonstrated that he doesn’t know how to take orders, or first thing about Naval Leadership; it is also obviously that he is a “Never Trump” Flag Officer who has been drinking McRaven’s Kool aide.

Green and McRaven and so many other Obama selectees for Flag and General Officer “Politically Correct” selectees for Flag and General Officers were prescreened to have very specific views to ensure they would be willing to institute Obama’s Social Experiment on Diversity into the US Armed Forces; the actions of those Obama Flag and General Officers contributed greatly toward negatively affecting the “Combat Effectiveness“ of the US Armed Forces.


The Social Experiment on Diversity also corrupted the curriculum and training at all 5 Services Academies (cadets and midshipmen now have safe spaces they can cower in, therapy dogs are brought in to relieve stress (will there be therapy dogs in combat?). Sexual activity in Academy housing is now routine, there is a special hands off policy treatment for female plebes, there are repeated violations of the Honor Code results in re-education as many as 3 times (not in dismissals), there is now a place for Satan worshippers to meet in has been set provided on Academy grounds, and very seldomly does anyone flunk out—failed courses are retaken during the summer months when midshipmen should be performing training on cruises, claims by cadets and midshipmen of sexual abuse has increased. [It will take years of hard work to right the ship.]



Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt  USN(Ret)/Former FBI

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108

As usual, CAPT John is spot on. The Gallagher saga is not over yet, as the rest of the Navy chain of command has some serious soul-searching to do. Will they be able to walk back their insubordinate comments and actions, or will they resign (or be forced to)? Personally, I favor a few well-publicized courts martials, followed by a cleaning out of the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps. Now THAT would be the real way to restore good order and discipline in the US Navy – and “preserve the resiliency of the institution” that Richard Spencer failed to do.


The end.


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