Washington, D.C. —On Friday, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, issued the following statement after the Navy declined to reinstate Captain Brett E. Crozier as Commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt:
“Today’s announcement that Captain Crozier will not be reinstated as Commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt raises more questions than it answers. By virtually all accounts, Navy leadership first recommended to Secretary of Defense Esper in April that Captain Crozier’s command be restored, but they have now changed course and reversed that recommendation. I am more concerned than ever that politics may have unduly influenced this investigation.
“For months, our Subcommittee has sought documents and communications related to the coronavirus outbreak onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the sequence of events that led to Captain Crozier’s dismissal, but the Department of Defense has refused to provide a single responsive document.
“Military leaders should feel empowered to raise concerns about the safety of the men and women under their command and expect to be heard without fear of political retribution. The Subcommittee on National Security will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and as Chairman, I expect full cooperation from the Department of Defense.”
On April 7, 2020, Chairman Lynch sent a letter to DOD requesting documents and communications related to the coronavirus outbreak onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the April 2, 2020, dismissal of Captain Crozier.
On May 4, 2020, Chairman Lynch sent a subsequent letter renewing his April 7, 2020, request after DOD failed to adequately respond. To date, the Subcommittee has not received documents or communications responsive to these requests.