Stavridis II: Winning the Battle, Losing the War

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Navy photo / MCS 1st Class Eric Dietrich

Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, speaking at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., Oct. 23.

Some Navy officials thought our post Friday on the Pentagon inspector general’s report into Admiral James Stavridis’ travel to a hallowed wine gathering in France “really misses a larger point.”

The larger point, from here, is that a good officer’s career ended – by many counts prematurely – because of a picayune bookkeeping snafu.

But some in the Navy see another angle as more important. “He was cleared of any wrongdoing,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the service’s chief spokesman says, “and roundly disputed the IG’s findings over that trip to Dijon.”

Fair enough. But our aim was to focus on how a senior officer could get tripped up on the rules as interpreted by the IG – the process, in other words.

Despite the IG’s findings, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus absolved Stavridis of personal wrongdoing:

I have determined that ADM Stavridis never attempted to use his public office for private gain nor did he commit personal misconduct. The issues identified by the DoD IG reflect poor attention to administrative detail by the Office of the Supreme Allied Command Europe/United States European Command (OSACEURIEUCOM) staffs.