Crisis Aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt


The case details the events which happened aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the last weeks of March and the beginning of April of 2020. Some sailors onboard became infected by the coronavirus and there was every danger of it spreading rapidly. The Captain of the carrier was Brett Crozier, a distinguished naval officer with many years of service behind him. As his requests to get sailors off the ship was not responded to promptly, he resorted to emailing a four-page letter to around 20 recipients “outside” the naval hierarchy. This was soon leaked to the press and became a major talking point. The acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly reacted by relieving Brett Crozier of his command, stating that the latter had shown poor leadership qualities and had not followed the chain of command in communicating his problems when he had the means to do so. Crozier was a popular captain, and the crew gave him a fond and touching farewell in contrast to the antagonism they showed Modly when he addressed them after the event. There was a lot of criticism about Modly’s decision making abilities which surfaced shortly after the incident and ultimately, he resigned from his job. The focus of the case is on crisis management and the need for clear decision making under stressful conditions.

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