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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Richardson: See toxic behavior? Intervene, stop, report

The following message was released fleetwide by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson as NAVADMIN 066/17 on March, 21, 2017.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson visits Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), Jan. 18.
U.S. Navy file photo/Released

The United States Navy is a high-performing combat team that strives to be its best, in both competence and character, every day. We push ourselves and our shipmates to perform at the highest levels of operational and warfighting proficiency, and we demonstrate our Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment in everything we do. This applies on and off duty, and applies in our physical lives and our virtual lives.

Bullying, hazing, harassment, stalking, discrimination, retaliation, assault and other types of toxic behavior, online or anywhere else, undermine teamwork and make us less capable – they give advantage to our enemies. In some cases they are also criminal. How we treat each other online is as important as how we relate to one another in person. The internet, with any sense of anonymity it may provide, must not be a haven for bad behavior. Your online life is still your life.

I’m sure you’ve seen the same thing I have: the very best teams perform best across the board. They have no place for toxic behavior that weakens the team – they are laser-focused on continually improving their performance. The best teams act to discourage and prevent toxic behaviors before they happen, recognizing their weakening effect. Let’s be the best. Encourage each other to avoid toxic behaviors in all forms and focus on team effectiveness.

If you see these behaviors anywhere, step in – there are no bystanders on our team. Intervene and stop the behavior. If necessary, promptly report toxic behaviors to your chain of command. You can also report to Family Support Services, Command Managed Equal Opportunity (CMEO) managers, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) administrators, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention personnel, the Inspector General (IG), and NCIS, as applicable. NCIS has encouraged anyone with direct knowledge of online misconduct related to the recent reporting or who thinks that photos of them have been taken or posted without their consent to contact them via text, web or smart phone app. Specific instructions are available at The Navy Office of Information (CHINFO) has training references on appropriate behavior online that can be found at

We are at our best when we intervene and prevent bad behaviors before they happen. This is the sign of a high-performing team. Be your best. Be expert operators and warfighters. Be people of integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness. In everything you do, live a life of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. U.S. Navy