WASHINGTON — Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke has been relieved of his duties due to complete lack of confidence in his ability to hastily lead and relieve commanders, the Navy said today.
According to the official Navy release, Burke was relieved “due to not upholding the Navy’s long-standing tradition of failing to develop competent leaders, putting them into positions of increased responsibility prematurely, and subjectively tossing them by the wayside at a unsustainable rate.”
"This is the U.S. Navy. There are no second chances when it comes to the high-stakes game of maintaining the freedom of the seas," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, regarding the service which has not fought in a major naval battle since WWII, let alone sunk an enemy ship since 1988. "We demand the very best, and we will fire every commander in the Navy until we figure out what exactly constitutes 'the very best.'"
"Most importantly of all," added Richardson, "we won't tell anyone what that is if we do."
Outgoing Navy secretary Ray Mabus echoed Richarson's non-committal and nebulous comments to reporters earlier this week. He also revealed that Burke had been under investigation for "quite some time" regarding allegations of "encouraging mentorship and empowerment" of subordinate commanders.
"The last 70 years of failed American foreign policy notwithstanding, this is a zero-defect environment," said Richardson. "We want to send a clear message to our leaders: failure to enforce standards, no matter how vague or impossible to achieve, are grounds for immediate dismissal."
While the decrease in commander reliefs may signal a new era in the US Navy, it's not good news for the enlisted ranks, who have been able to maintain a minimal level of personal fitness and military bearing for the better part of 241 years.
"These years of decreased firings are statistical outliers," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven S. Giordano. "We are only months away from another Tailhook, LCS, or F-35 debacle, and we'll be back to business as usual."
Burke's replacement has not yet been named, but Richardson said he is confident that he or she will be named and relieved within the coming months.