Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, released the following statement after Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly submitted his resignation:

“Leaders across the military services and at every command echelon should feel empowered to raise concerns about the health and safety of the men and women under their command—and expect to be heard by top leaders at the Pentagon—without fear of retribution.  The public attack on Captain Crozier for advocating on behalf of the safety of his crew was in poor judgement and failed to meet the high standards of Naval service.

“I hope this resignation will mark a change in course within the Department of the Navy toward the health and readiness of our nation’s Sailors during this pandemic.  As the Department of Defense continues to respond to the coronavirus, it will need to balance the health of safety of its personnel while preserving military preparedness. However, I do not believe those two goals necessarily conflict.”

Yesterday, Chairman Lynch sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper seeking information about the availability of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to military and civilian personnel, as well as documents and communications related to the April 2, 2020, dismissal of Captain Brett Crozier.  To date, more than 2,600 servicemembers, dependents, and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians have tested positive for coronavirus.

Chairman Lynch previously requested information about the availability of DOD medical supplies and PPE on March 26, 2020, but the Department has not provided a response.