Focus on Ethics


Recent allegations of ethical failure and cheating on tests in some of our military units must serve to remind us that, although the vast majority of our Sailors live our navy ethos and core values, we must always remain vigilant to the potential to make mistakes. This is particularly critical when it comes to integrity.  A failure of integrity undermines a unit’s trust.  As Sailors our very survival is founded on trust – it is the core of our success at sea – and has been for centuries.

In response to these recent incidents and the order by Secretary of Defense to conduct two reviews I felt it important to provide my initial thoughts in these three video clips:

1.    What is the Secretary of Defense review going to look at?

“Secretary of Defense has directed two reviews. These internal reviews will conduct examinations of our nuclear enterprise. The reviews will also look at how as an organization we impart values of character and integrity to our personnel.”

2.    Do you feel we have an ethics problem across and throughout our Navy?

“I don’t think we have an ethics problem across the Navy. But I think we need to reinforce our core values and our core commitment to that…  Integrity is the foundation of what we’re about.  We need to talk about that – it needs to be part of our training program. I’m not just talking about General Military Training, we need to talk about it in the ready rooms, we need to talk about it on the bridge of our ships, we need to talk about it on our squadron flight lines, in the hangar bay and in our bilges…


3.    What do you expect from us?

“I expect honor, courage and commitment – commitment to the institution.  We have to have the honor to not lie cheat or steal.  We have to have the courage to not stand for those who do. We need to talk about it and I charge our leaders to talk about what our values mean because they are the foundation of what we’re about.’

Thanks for listening – I am proud to lead the hundreds of thousands of professional Sailors and Civilians who serve today, and embrace the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Whether you are on duty ashore, in the engineering spaces, on the bridge, in a ready room or hangar bay, I will continue to demand absolute integrity in all that we do; and, I will expect that you demand the same. See you in Fleet and I look forward to continuing the dialogue on this important issue. It is the foundation of what our Navy is about.


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  • Harley Fender

    The solution is very simple Admiral, go back to the rules and regulations of the 1950′s/1960s, and enforce those rules and regulations, and your problem is solved. And this includes the rules on Gays in the military!!

    • Jim P

      Harley- If you pay very close attention, you just might notice that all of the ethics violations recently in the press – - Admiral’s taking vacations in London at taxpayer expense, contractors buying prostitutes for senior officers, NCIS agents accepting bribes from contractors – - all of those involved hetersexual men

  • John Luke

    You sir are an excellent American. Yesterday’s solutions do not solve today’s issues, be ever vigilant of the role Sailors play in our military mission sir.

  • JR

    Two major engineering ethics issues:
    1. practice of engineering by non-degreed technicians.
    2. organizational structuring that puts unlicensed junior field grade level CEC officers in command of senior licensed professional engineers.

  • 1claudioalp1

    There are not ethic problems but the necessityto ever better improve buddies resilience for may do front to risks posed by life, for military life require a daily training, that is ever boost ourself n the aim to be, as we are, Navy claudio alpaca

  • SWO JO

    I do believe we have an ethical problem in the Navy. A big one! I am concerned with the pressure to “play the game” when it comes to many of our requirements.

    As a young officer, I am continually told not to bring attention to areas where we may not be meeting our objectives with the reason being that “this is the way the Navy now operates under such demanding conditions.” It goes so far as to downright manipulate or deceive. Those who stand against it are ostracized. Those who stand by and watch begin to think its acceptable. This serves only to mask the true condition of our war fighting ability and the true condition of those sailors who serve.

  • rac

    The public has no idea just how corrupt people in the Navy can be. I know for a fact that doing the right thing can get you threatened and if you are a civilian trying to report conduct unbecoming then the military member you know is put under fire till they can get you to keep your mouth shut. Even with irrefutable proof it takes YEARS for any kind of justice… I can’t wait to put this kind of bs behind me

  • William Keller

    Perhaps, it would be helpful if a flag or two on active duty would resign their commission rather than continue to lead over the GiTMO prison compound of forced feeding and unconstitutional behaviour or in the past would have resigned over Abu Ghraib, the manipulative intelligence to bait the nation into the Iragi war or the broad use of water boarding(torture) in an affront to the Geneva Conventions. This attests to the fundamental vacuum of ethics in the leadership of a service that could in the past hold itself to the standards of a James Stockdale. It is a strategic deficiency in ethical conduct and character of leadership and denigrates command actions to another day of rope and yarn chimera.

  • Howard Cleveland

    Good day Mr. President,

    I am writing this letter today to let you
    know of several injustices that occurred towards me while serving at RTC Great

    Medical Maleficence at the Capt. James A. Lovell FHCC which
    caused permanent damage to my left lung.
    They treated me for pneumonia for almost 6 months, I never had pneumonia.
    This is where mistake #1, Medical Misdiagnosis comes in, the material they took
    out of my lung during the Bronchoscope “Was Only Tested for Cancer”, nothing
    else, after the results came back negative for Cancer they continued to treat
    me for Pneumonia. At about the 9 month
    mark, Retired Master Chief Leann Boyer sent me paperwork to be filled out and
    submitted to the Medical Review board, and she only gave me 24 hours to do this
    and a couple examples of previous Med Board requests, having no idea how to
    fill this form out I followed the examples provided. The form I filled out
    wasn’t the one submitted to the Med Board, I selected the boxes to remain on
    active duty with the only exception that would be needed would be to waive the
    run and use the exercise bicycle in its place for the Cardio portion of the
    PRT, but none of these sections were filled out when I received the document
    from the Medical Review Board.While I was on LIMDU I continued to be a valuable
    asset to the command and the Navy as a During my stay at GSE “C” school I
    earned two NEC’S, taught 3 classes, was the Building Energy Manager (BEM) and
    Building Safety Petty officer, during which I maintained “0” discrepancies on
    all building inspections and “Reduced the Building Energy Output from 92% to
    82% saving the base and the Navy money, And
    was involved in Sea Cadet training while they were there. After Mrs. Boyer brought me back to RTC to
    start the Med Board Process I was assigned to Night Of Arrival where I was
    proficient in every aspect of the recruits first day aboard RTC.My request is
    to be Re-Instated as of 27 June 2013 as a GSEC, of course I wish to go through
    Chief’s initiation, and all the pay and allowances due me can be used to offset
    the severance check I was given. I am
    worldwide assignable, my only limitation would be to use the exercise cycle for
    the cardio portion of the Navy PRT instead of the run. I would just like the opportunity to continue
    being a Proud and successful member of the World’s finest Navy.


    Cleveland Jr

  • Tamela

    There will alwasy be some aspects of ehtics issues/problems becasue we are all from different walks of life and what one person has a problem with; another person feels it’s okay. I think most of the problems truly come from how we were raised and what has been the “norm” for some since they’ve been in the world. We should all have a personal responsibility to ourselves, family,friends,co-workers, etc and until you really see it that way it may always be hard for some to really think or consider ethics. The ethics issue starts with each individual and some people can read about it, watch slides or movies about it, have poilicies and rules set before them and they will still take part in unethical situations/circumstances. We must continue to move forward being positive and ensuring that we are setting the examples everyday( no matter where you are or who you are with) It’s important that we stand up for what’s right and not accept what is wrong( right in front of our faces). People around you who are engaging in unethical behaviours should be called to the side and have someone approach them with love and compassion concerning the situation. Knowing how to meet a situation head on with love, compassion and understanding really can make the difference.