WASHINGTON – The man set to take over as the head of the Navy declined the position over the weekend, less than one month before it was scheduled to start the job.
In a statement, Adm. Bill Moran confirmed that he had appointed the appointment of Chief of Naval Operations, and regretted "any inconvenience" his decision caused to President Donald Trump and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. He said that although it was painful for him to retire instead, he did not want to be an "impediment" to the Navy.
Said Moran, "I made this difficult decision based on an open investigation into the nature of some of my personal email correspondence about the past couple of years and for continuing to maintain a professional relationship with a former staff officer, now retired, who had while in uniform been investigated and held accountable on allegations of inappropriate behavior. clear, my decision to maintain this relationship was in no way an endorsement or tacit approval of this kind of conduct. I understand how toxic it can be to any team when inappropriate behavior goes unrecognized and unchecked. Every Sailor is called to serve in an environment free of harassment or intimidation. ”
Secretary Spencer said he had accepted Moran's request to retire. "Adm. Bill Moran recently brought to my attention two years he maintained a professional relationship with an individual who was held accountable and counseled for failing to meet the values and standards of the Naval profession. While I admire his faithful service and commitment to the Navy, this decision on his part to maintain that relationship has caused me to call his judgment into question. "
A US official familiar with Moran's resignation said he resigned because of an association with retired Navy Cmdr. Chris Servello
Servello worked for and with Moran several times over roughly a decade, with Moran serving as a mentor to Servello.
Servello was investigated for his behavior at a 201
No charges were filed against Servello, but he was counseled for bad judgment and excessive drinking. Servello, who was then working as the spokesperson for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, continued working in the Pentagon until he retired in spring 2019.
Moran maintained contact with Servello during and after the investigation, including communicating with him on his personal email account.
Moran served as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations until last month, when he was replaced by Adm. Bob Burke. Moran was scheduled to take over as Chief of Naval Operations on August 1, replacing Adm. Richardson, who is set to retire
Richardson will now stay on until a new Chief of Naval Operations is nominated, according to the defense officials. By law, Richardson cannot serve as CNO beyond Sept. 17, 2019, when it will be served four years in the position.