Remarks of the Chief of Naval Operations

Regarding his recent visit to the U. S. Naval Academy

3 May 1996

After the CNO visited the Naval Academy for the annual meeting of the U.S. Naval Institute, he talked about his visit in his weekly message to all Navy Flag Officers. He also requested that his comments be distributed to subordinates in each command.

Below are the CNO's remarks:

''This was a full and busy week for most of us. The event that most stands our for me was a visit to the Naval Academy for the annual Naval Institute sessions. I attended the business meeting and followed it with an address on the state of the Navy. I devoted nearly all of the time I had during the address to discuss the Naval Academy itself and some of the recent problems we've experienced. I can recap that for you in a few paragraphs.

First, I wanted everyone in attendance to know (and I want you to know as well) that I think ADM Chuck Larson is exactly the right person to lead U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY right now. In just a little over a year and a half, he has made significant changes in both curriculum and administration. Those changes relating to honor, administration of the brigade and leadership training are on the mark. Chuck isn't finished yet. You don't change an organization as large or as complex as U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY in a year and a half and, in fact, there is much right with the Academy. Chuck needs time to make his full impact and he needs our support to do it, and Chuck has mine. SECNAV agrees and he said so in his dinner speech.

Second, there have been an unusual number of discipline issues at U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY over the past couple of months. When ADM Larson learned that there was some number of mids using LSD, he attacked the problem. Together with NCIS, they caught the sellers. In many institutions it would have stopped there, and two people would have been dealt with. The issue would have probably been reported, but that would have been that. Chuck decided, rightly so, that he would fully enforce our zero tolerance for drug abuse, and in the end over twenty midshipmen were identified. While this is nothing to be proud of (zero abuse is the goal....not having people who need to be caught is what we are trying to achieve), the honest and open way this was pursued and the way it was handled reflects a no nonsense approach that will not be lost on the midshipmen of our Navy. We can be proud of that. Finally, I can tell you that the vast majority of mids and faculty/staff were (1) upset with the abusers and, (2) in complete agreement and support for the way it was handled.

Third, a serious case of alleged sexual harassment regarding a midshipman in a leadership position is being dealt with by ADM Larson in a similar straightforward and open way. While it is embarrassing to the Academy, it was the right way to deal with this, and it sends the right signal. Such things will not be tolerated. Again, the right response by the Academy, and it has my full support. There have been a couple of other incidents recently, each dealt with in the same straightforward and forthright manner. Interesting to note that in one case, three individuals were former midshipmen who had been separated from the Academy earlier for other problems. Said another way, these individuals were previously identified as the type of individuals we don't want in our Navy, and they were dismissed. Still, as you'd expect, their misdeeds were reported as if they were done by serving midshipmen. In each of these cases, the Academy, led firmly by ADM Larson, is dealing with the issues in an open and honest way. Again....with my full support. We can expect to see U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY make more changes, increased self-discipline in the brigade run by the midshipmen, and supervised in an appropriate way by the staff. Once again, with my full support.

In May the Board of Visitors at U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY will meet and review the issues and the Academy's plans. We are all committed to keeping our Academy strong and producing the very best possible future Navy leaders.''