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Chairman Courtney Statement on Reports that Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has Submitted Letter of Resignation

April 7, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, released the following statement today after news broke that Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly has submitted a letter of resignation to Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper. The Acting Secretary had faced mounting calls to step down after publicly referring to the former Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, as “naïve” and “stupid” for his actions to protect the men and women under his command from the spread of COVID-19.

“Today’s decision by former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly to resign was a necessary step to restore the confidence of every sailor and member of the US Navy that its leadership is committed to their wellbeing,” said Chairman Courtney. “Our nation asks a lot of the men and women who wear its uniform, especially during a time of pandemic when their enduring mission becomes even more perilous. The ordeal of the USS Roosevelt was bad enough for its crew without the uncalled-for scapegoating of Captain Brett Crozier. Mr. Modly did the right thing in stepping aside. Hopefully it will allow the Navy to focus on caring for the crew and their families, as well as for a fresh review of the Captain Crozier’s punishment, which simple fairness demands.”