It is highly irregular for a secretary to become deeply involved in most personnel matters.
In combat zones, the stakes are even higher. We train our forces to be both disciplined and lethal. We strive to use proportional force, protect civilians and treat detainees fairly.
We are effective overseas not because we have the best equipment, but because we are professionals. Our troops are held to the highest standards.
On Nov. 14, partly because the president had already contacted me twice, I sent him a note asking him not to get involved in these questions.
On Nov. 19, I briefed Esper’s chief of staff concerning my plan.
The next day, the Navy established a review board to decide the status of Gallagher’s Trident pin. According to long-standing procedure, a group of four senior enlisted SEALs would rule on the question.
But the question was quickly made moot: