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Report Of Investigation: William F. Moran, Admiral, United States Navy DODIG-2019-117

Administrative Investigations

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Publicly released: August 28, 2019

We initiated an investigation that assessed Navy Admiral William F. Moran’s use of his personal e-mail account for official DoD communications in violation of DoD policies, and his continued relationship with a former Navy commander who had been removed from the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) staff for inappropriate behavior towards female employees.  We reviewed 572 pages of e-mails from Admiral Moran’s personal Gmail account, dated from December 14, 2016, through June 5, 2019, which included e-mail communications with the Navy commander and 12 other Navy personnel, including military, civilian, and contract employees.  We interviewed Admiral Moran and Admiral John M. Richardson, the current Chief of Naval Operations.

We determined that Admiral Moran used his personal e-mail account to conduct official DoD communications, in violation of DoD policies.  We found that Admiral Moran used his personal e-mail account to discuss official DoD communications with the former Navy commander and other Navy military, civilian, and contract personnel. We also found that Admiral Moran frequently communicated by personal e-mail with the Navy commander to conduct official DoD communications after the commander had been removed for inappropriate behavior towards junior female officers and a female civilian employee.  Regarding whether Admiral Moran’s continued relationship with the Navy commander may have been inappropriate due to the Navy commander’s outside employment as a private media consultant while still on active duty, we determined that Admiral Moran’s relationship with the Navy commander was not inappropriate with respect to the Navy commander’s outside employment.

We considered Admiral Moran’s decision to maintain a relationship with the Navy commander and continue to solicit and accept the Navy commander’s public affairs guidance after the commander was removed from the CNO’s staff for inappropriate behavior toward female employees to be a performance issue.  With regard to Admiral Moran’s use of personal e-mail to conduct official DoD communications, we recommended that the Secretary of the Navy consider any additional appropriate action regarding Admiral Moran.  We also recommended that the Secretary of the Navy provide guidance to Navy personnel reminding them of the DoD policy against using personal e-mail to conduct official DoD communications.