Pentagon watchdog to evaluate Navy’s response to coronavirus

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Inspector General will evaluate whether the U.S. Navy has done enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the fleet.

In a letter dated Monday, May 11, the DOD Inspector General’s office informed the Department of the Navy that it plans to begin a subject evaluation to “determine whether the Navy has implemented policies and procedures to prevent and mitigate the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19), on ships and submarines.”

In March, sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt began testing positive for COVID-19, leading the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, to send an impassioned plea for help. Crozier was fired from his job on April 3 because his memo included information about the ship’s readiness to individuals outside his chain of command and over an unclassified server.

Hospitalman Karlie Doll sorts patient samples, collected from Sailors assigned to aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, on April 22, 2020.Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger / U.S. Navy

The IG’s letter does not mention the Roosevelt.

The letter says the IG will also look at whether the Navy implemented prevention measures to stop the spread across the fleet. The evaluation will include interviews with staff at the Chief of Naval Operations office, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and at Fleet Forces Command.

As of May 11, the U.S. Navy has 2,162 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than half of those cases are sailors aboard two ships, the Roosevelt and USS Kidd.

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