For the fourth time in less than six months, the US Navy has a new boss, Kenneth Braithwaite, an ardent supporter of Donald Trump whose mission is to restore the esprit de corps in a demoralized naval force and hit by the Covid-19. The appointment of Kenneth Braithwaite, 60, current US ambassador to Oslo, was approved Thursday by show of hands by the United States Senate.
During his hearing before the Senate Armed Forces Committee in early May, he had made a point of having serene relations with the White House, which his two predecessors had failed to do. "Although I recognize the challenges for what they are, I am ready," he said. "I regret to say that the US Navy is going through rough waters due to various factors, mainly a lack of leadership," he said, citing in particular a large corruption scandal that had rocked it in 2015 and the collisions of military buildings that killed 17 people in 2017.
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He referred to the differences between US President Donald Trump and former Navy secretary Richard Spencer as the "judicial faux pas" over the fate of an elite soldier accused of crimes and pardoned by the American president. The incident resulted in the dismissal of Richard Spencer on November 24. He also mentioned the recent crisis aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt , which made Richard Spencer's successor Thomas Modly a successor before his appointment was confirmed by Congress.
Sacked on April 7, Thomas Modly had been replaced on an acting basis by James McPherson, a retired admiral who had just taken office as number two in the military. A former naval pilot, Kenneth Braithwaite served for 21 years in the US Navy, where he held various positions including that of spokesperson, before leaving the army in 1993 to join the private sector. In 2016, he participated in Donald Trump's Pennsylvania election campaign and was part of the Republican billionaire's transition team immediately after his election.