Consider the resources in the Activity-Related Resources section of this week’s What You Need to Know that pertain to the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the spring of 2020. You will likely wish to conduct additional research on the incident.


In early April of 2020, Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly for a communication that he sent requesting assistance for the sailors aboard the ship that had contracted COVID-19. Secretary Modly subsequently addressed the sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on the situation during a speech on its deck. It was a very controversial speech, which ultimately led to Modly’s resignation.

Discuss at least one of the following:

Your reaction to the removal of Captain Crozier from his command. Was it warranted? Was it wise?

How could Secretary Modly have communicated the ethical dilemma of Captain Crozier’s actions to the crew without demeaning the Captain’s personal or professional standing? Should he have addressed the ethical elements of the situation?

Explain whether the actions of Secretary Modly demonstrate an understanding of his audience.

What communication mistakes were made by Secretary Modly during his address?