And Here Might be a Part of the Problem

Rear Admiral Brian Losey engaged in an illegal, and wide ranging campaign of retaliation in an attempt to punish whoever reported him for minor travel irregularities, but he still got his promotion.

This lack of accountability is pretty much an archetypal example of senior leadership acting in a manner in opposition to good order and discipline of the force, but that does not matter. General officers cover for each other:

The Navy is poised to promote the admiral in charge of its elite SEAL teams and other commando units even though Pentagon investigators determined that he illegally retaliated against staff members who he mistakenly suspected were whistleblowers.

Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey was investigated five times by the Defense Department’s inspector general after subordinates complained that he had wrongly fired, demoted or punished them during a vengeful but fruitless hunt for the person who had anonymously reported him for a minor travel-policy infraction, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

After conducting separate, years-long investigations that involved more than 100 witnesses and 300,000 pages of e-mails, the inspector general upheld complaints from three of the five staff members. In each of those cases, it recommended that the Navy take action against Losey for violating whistleblower-protection laws, the documents show.

The Navy, however, dismissed the findings this month and decided not to discipline Losey, a preeminent figure in the military’s secretive Special Operations forces who once commanded SEAL Team 6, the clandestine unit known for killing terrorist targets such as Osama bin Laden. He now leads the Naval Special Warfare Command and has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia and other conflict zones.

Senior Navy leaders reviewed the inspector general’s investigations but “concluded that none of the allegations rose to the level of misconduct on Admiral Losey’s part,” Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy’s chief spokeswoman, said in a statement. She added that “no further action is contemplated.”


Critics say the previously undisclosed investigations into one of the Navy’s top SEALs underscore the weakness of the military’s whistleblower-protection law and how rarely violators are punished.

Under the law, commanders or senior civilian officials are prohibited from taking punitive action against anyone who has reported wrongdoing in the armed forces to the inspector general or members of Congress.

In comparison with other federal employees, whistleblowers working in the military or national security agencies must meet a higher burden of proof to win their cases. The odds are stacked against those who seek redress.


The complaints against Losey also illustrate the Pentagon’s long-standing reluctance to discipline top brass for wrongdoing and how the military typically conceals misconduct investigations from public view. The armed forces rarely disclose the existence of such cases­ except in response to public-records requests, which usually take months to process.


The turmoil began in July 2011, three weeks after Losey took charge of the military’s Special Operations Command for Africa, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

Someone filed an anonymous complaint with the inspector general alleging that Losey had improperly sought a government-paid plane ticket for his adult daughter when his family relocated to Germany.

In fact, Losey had paid for the plane ticket himself, and the complaint was soon dismissed. But enraged by what he saw as an act of disloyalty, the admiral became determined to find out who had reported him, according to the inspector general reports.


“I don’t understand why Brian did what he did. He went hard over stupid on it,” said a senior military official who knew Losey well and served at the time with the U.S. Africa Command, the parent command for Losey’s group.

“He was concerned about disloyalty. But as I had another commander tell me, loyalty goes both ways,” said the military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the investigations.

In the end, it turned out that Losey had the wrong people on his list of suspects.

Investigators determined that none of the people he retaliated against had filed the original complaint about his daughter’s plane ticket.


The official said the Navy issued Losey a formal letter of counseling this month, advising him to be thoughtful and careful when handling such matters in the future but finding no wrongdoing on his part.

Meanwhile, the inspector general also recommended that the armed forces take action against two colonels who served as senior aides to Losey. Investigators determined that they had punished suspected whistleblowers, effectively acting on behalf of the admiral.

This sort of crap is one of the reasons that our military has had a long run of failures since 2001.

We no longer fire Generals for incompetence or for malfeasance, Losey is a poster child for this, and as a result we have a force that, for all of its technical acumen, is far less effective than it should be.

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