Watch Leadership in a Pandemic panel discussion
President Davidson and experts discuss how coronavirus sank two careers and endangered American military deterrence.
April 20, 2020
Actions by the chain of command in response to a novel coronavirus outbreak aboard the Nimitz-class USS Theodore Roosevelt resulted in the sudden reassignment of its captain, the resignation of the acting secretary of the Navy, and 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with one reported death of a sailor.
The question asked during a Tuesday virtual panel discussion called “Leadership in a Pandemic” was obvious: What went wrong?
Panelists included MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., a former Schar School faculty member, the 32nd Undersecretary of the Navy under President Obama, and former Air Force officer and cargo pilot, as well as Vice Admiral (retired) Bruce H. Lindsey, former Deputy Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, former captain of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, and former executive officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Lindsey earned his Public Policy PhD from the Schar School in 2005.
The discussion was moderated by Schar School Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Morell, former deputy director and twice acting director of the CIA.
The event, broadcast via the Webex video conferencing platform, began with a detailed analysis of the chain of events regarding the USS Theodore Roosevelt controversy by Morell, who provided intelligence briefings for four presidents in his 33 years at the CIA.
Morell opened the floor to Lindsey and Davidson who provided their personal insights as to what normally happens behind the scenes at various levels of command — from the White House to the Pentagon to the ship’s bridge — and discussed the sometimes precarious nature of civilian leadership in military affairs, especially when politics is involved.
This article was originally published by George Mason University.
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