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A Message from the Navy Surgeon General: Professional Behavior

The following message was sent by Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison to Navy Medicine commanders world-wide.

Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison
Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison


It has come to my attention that members of the Navy Medicine team posted highly offensive photos and videos on their personal social media pages involving newborns at our naval hospitals. This content was then shared on various platforms and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of individuals. Members of the Navy Medicine team represent the Navy 24/7. Unprofessional and inappropriate social media behavior is inconsistent with both our core values of honor, courage and commitment as well as our medical ethics, violating the oaths we took for our profession and office. This type of behavior also has a negative effect on mission accomplishment and good order and discipline.

In an age where information can be shared instantly, what we say and post online must reflect the highest standards of character and conduct, in both our personal and professional lives. As health care professionals, we are entrusted with the lives and well-being of all those who have volunteered to defend our freedom, including their families. We owe them the best care and compassion our nation can offer. We also owe them our unqualified respect. Any behavior that falls short of this expectation will be dealt with appropriately. This type of inappropriate conduct violates two of my core values: (1) be worthy of the trust placed in our hands in the privilege of caring for America’s sons and daughters, and (2) be worthy of the “uniform” we wear, both military and civilian, and all that we represent. At every level of the enterprise, we must send a clear message that Navy and Navy Medicine leadership take every allegation of offensive and unacceptable online conduct seriously and will hold responsible individuals accountable for their actions.

I have directed immediate mandatory all-hands stand downs within 48 hours at all Navy Medicine commands to review our oaths, our pledges, our reasons for serving, as well as Navy Medicine’s policy regarding use of personally owned phones and other recording devices (BUMED INST 3104.2A). Further, all commanding officers will be tasked to ensure no additional patient photos exist on social media and to take immediate action to remove such content. We are committed to working closely with ongoing investigations to ensure we have the facts and take appropriate action. I have also implemented an immediate prohibition of all personal cell phones in patient care areas until further notice. Additionally, I have directed all commanding officers to personally contact current mothers and expectant mothers planning to deliver in one of our facilities to reassure them, inform them of our actions, and address any of their concerns.

I applaud the individuals who took a stand when they witnessed this inappropriate behavior online. They chose not to be silent. This is what I expect of every member of the Navy Medicine team – from the deck plate to our senior leaders. Honor, service, caring and compassion – that is what the Navy Medicine team represents. Because of that, American families rest well at night knowing we have the watch and are committed to the best care for their loved ones. We cannot compromise the trust that has been placed in our hands. Our Sailors, Marines and their families deserve our best.

SG sends U.S. Navy

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

No Bystanders

The following message was sent by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson to all commanders fleetwide.

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

Team, we have a problem and we need to solve it. Really solve it – not put a band-aid on it, not whitewash over it, not look the other way.

The discovery of on-line sites that degrade the female members of our team has shined a light on the fact that this problem persists.  But we get reminders of it every day, when we disrespect women by crude jokes, wisecracks, sexual harassment, and in its worst manifestation, sexual assault – a serious violent crime. Despite a steady effort to get after this, we’re not making progress.

This demeaning activity offends so many of us because fundamentally, this is not how we treat true teammates. This is not how we treat fellow Sailors. We operate, and will fight, in our teams. We will depend on each other to protect and save our lives, to win.

In teams, there are no bystanders. We are all in, every one of us. We have high expectations of each other, hold each other accountable, and we treat each other with respect. We build our teammates up to make them stronger. We definitely don’t allow anybody to disrespect another teammate – we close ranks and protect.

I’ve heard hundreds of times that “these actions are being taken by only a small minority.” Prove that. If that’s true, then the vast majority of men and women need to stand up and smother this behavior. To become intolerant. To act to put a stop to this. And if you’re one of that minority that just won’t get it, then it’s time for you to leave the Navy.
As a commander, your entire team counts on you leading a winning team, that INCLUDES a culture of dignity and respect, consistent with our core values and attributes. Without this trust, we will fail.

I expect COs and each level of leadership to challenge your command leaders at the small team level. Division Officers and Chiefs talking to their divisions, branches talking to branches, Chief’s Mess to Chief’s Mess. Talk about what respect for our teammates looks like at work, at home, and online. Make it clear that individuals who can’t live up to our professional standards in competence and character are not welcome in our Navy. Make it clear that our standards call us to a higher commitment than the law  we are better than that. And finally, I expect you to make it crystal clear that to remain the world’s most powerful Navy we must be 100% focused on staying ahead of our competition, which starts with leadership and teamwork, built on trust and respect. This is a challenge to all Navy leaders – particularly junior leaders. Own this problem. Solve it.

There is no room in our Navy for toxic behavior. It makes us weaker, and cedes advantage to the enemy. Direct involvement of commanders and small unit leaders will help us stamp this out. We are a team. We are Sailors.  We are the United States Navy. I’m counting on you. Let’s get to it.

Admiral Richardson sends.// U.S. Navy