SECNAV Censures Three Naval Officers

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer has issued Secretarial Letters of Censure to now-retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Richard Wren, now-retired U.S. Navy Capt. Timothy Conroy, and U.S. Navy Capt. Charles Johnson, based on findings regarding each of those officers’ improper interactions with and acceptance of gifts from Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contractor and prohibited source.

Secretary Spencer determined that Rear Adm. (Ret.) Wren, between 2007 and 2010, repeatedly and improperly accepted gifts from Leonard Francis and GDMA, a prohibited source, while serving as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG-5) and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, in the Seventh Fleet area of operations. Secretary Spencer also determined that in 2015, Rear Adm. (Ret.) Wren made a false official statement to mislead investigators about the nature of his relationship with Mr. Francis. Finally, in light of the nature and circumstances of those gifts and his interactions with GDMA/Mr. Francis, Secretary Spencer also determined that Rear Adm. (Ret.) Wren’s personal behavior constituted conduct unbecoming an officer. Rear Adm.(Ret.) Wren retired from the Navy in 2011.

Secretary Spencer determined that Capt. (Ret.) Conroy, over several months in 2008, repeatedly and improperly accepted gifts from GDMA/Mr. Francis, while serving as the Chief of Staff, Carrier Strike Group Seven (CSG-7), in the Seventh Fleet area of operations. In light of the nature and circumstances of those gifts and his interactions with GDMA, Secretary Spencer also determined that Capt. (Ret.) Conroy’s personal behavior constituted conduct unbecoming an officer. Capt. (Ret.) Conroy retired from the Navy in 2010.

Secretary Spencer determined that Capt. Johnson, between 2004 and 2010, repeatedly and improperly accepted gifts from Leonard Francis and GDMA, a prohibited source, while serving in a number of leadership positions, in the Seventh Fleet area of operations. In light of the nature and circumstances of those gifts and his interactions with GDMA, Secretary Spencer also determined that Capt. Johnson’s personal behavior constituted conduct unbecoming an officer. Finally, Secretary Spencer determined that in 2014, Capt. Johnson made false official statements by failing to disclose his relationship with Mr. Francis when required to do so. Capt. Johnson is currently serving in the Navy on active duty.

The foregoing officers’ conduct was examined as part of the joint investigation led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and reviewed by the Navy Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA) for GDMA matters. In each case, Secretary Spencer has determined that the officer’s conduct was contrary to the Standards of Ethical Conduct, the Joint Ethics Regulation, U.S. Navy Regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The laws and standards that these three officers violated represent the ethical rules that bind all federal employees, as well as long-established ethical standards of the naval service.

“It is incumbent that naval officers, particularly those placed in positions of great trust and responsibility, be held to the highest standards of both personal and professional behavior. Rear Adm. (Ret.) Wren, Capt. (Ret.) Conroy and Capt. Johnson, while serving in such positions, each disregarded those standards and engaged in conduct that reflected unethical and improper personal behavior and set poor standards of leadership. Each officer’s conduct is an embarrassment to the thousands of officers, Sailors and civilians who do the right thing every day,” said Spencer.

GDMA is the subject of an ongoing federal fraud and bribery investigation, which was initiated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). In March 2014, the Secretary of the Navy directed the appointment of a CDA to act as an independent authority to review GDMA matters forwarded by the DOJ to the Department of the Navy after the DOJ has declined to press criminal charges in the federal judicial system. The purpose of the CDA is to review the GDMA-related conduct of Navy members and determine what, if any, disciplinary or administrative actions are warranted and available.

The GDMA investigation continues, led by DOJ and supported by NCIS and DCIS. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California in San Diego and the Department of Justice Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., are leading the prosecution.