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Admiral who was to be top Navy officer retires

Admiral who was to be top Navy officer retires
Highlights

John Richardson as chief of naval operations and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Washington: The four-star admiral set to become the Navy's top officer on Aug. 1 will instead retire, an extraordinary downfall prompted by what Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday called poor judgment regarding a professional relationship.

The sudden move by Adm. William Moran may add to the perception of turmoil in the Pentagon's senior ranks, coming less than a month after Pat Shanahan abruptly withdrew from consideration to be defense secretary after serving as the acting secretary for six months.

Leaders of the individual military services, both civilian and uniformed, play less critical roles in national security than the defense secretary, and they are not in the chain of military command. But they are responsible for ensuring that the armed forces are trained, equipped and prepared for combat and other roles.

Moran had been vetted for promotion to the top uniformed position in the Navy, nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate in May to succeed Adm. John Richardson as chief of naval operations and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Instead, Moran said in a written statement Sunday evening that he told Spencer he decided to decline his appointment as the next chief of naval operations and requested to be allowed to retire.

"As painful as it is to submit my request to retire, I will not be an impediment whatsoever to the important service that you and your families continue to render the nation every day," Moran wrote. Spencer said his vision for the Navy includes "an urgent resolve by all" to live up to high standards.

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