WASHINGTON — The new head of U.S Special Operations Command has ordered a full review of his command’s ethics, culture and elitist attitudes to determine the fuel of a recent spate of failures in order and discipline.
Retired military personnel and active officers will conduct a top-down, overall review of special operations’ structure and culture. Other active personnel will investigate attitudes by going out and collecting data and thoughts from Army Rangers, Green Berets, Army Delta units, Navy SEAL teams, special warfare units, and Marine and Air Force special units, Pentagon officials told TMN on Tuesday.
One goal is to see if the recent rogue behavior is isolated to certain units or more systematic, the Pentagon officials said.
In a memo released Monday night, Gen. Richard Clarke, commandant of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the review will begin immediately and has a target date of completion in November.
“Recent incidents have called our culture and ethics into question and threaten the trust placed in us,” Clarke wrote in a memo sent to his command. “The American people must trust those who protect them.”
Special Operations forces include Navy SEALs, Green Berets and Delta Force, all with personnel involved in recent scandals.
The probe was first reported by NBC News.
Among the incidents recently making the news: Last month a platoon of Navy SEALs, one of whom has been accused of sexually assaulting a female service member, got sent home for drinking. A Marine Raider and a Navy SEAL pleaded guilty in the death of an Army Green Beret, who was strangled on a deployment to Mali. Two Army Green Berets pleaded guilty of an attempt to smuggle 90 pounds of cocaine out of Colombia on a military plane. A Navy SEAL is accused of killing a captured ISIS fighter and posing for pictures with the dead body.
They come on previous reports of allegations of war crimes, alcohol and drug abuse, murder, drug smuggling, and rape.
Clarke said the examination will assess aspects of special operations culture from recruiting, training and selection to ethics education and how ethical lapses are handled. “Most importantly, recognize this review as an opportunity to strengthen our values and reinforce trust,” he said in the memo.
The review is the second ordered by Special Operations Command leadership this year. Retired Gen. Tony Thomas ordered an internal review before he left in March.