The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General (DoD OIG) said Monday it is starting an evaluation of the Navy’s response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on ships and submarines.

A May 11 OIG memo said that starting this month this evaluation has to objective “to determine whether the Navy has implemented policies and procedures to prevent and mitigate the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus-disease-2019 (COVID-19), on ships and submarines.”

Seal of the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General (DoD OIG)

The office will also examine if mitigation measures that are effective in preventing the spread of the virus were implemented across the fleet.

The office said it will perform this evaluation at relevant offices of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and U.S. Pacific Fleet, with meetings and discussions facilitated via video and teleconference due to pandemic health protection levels.

OIG noted it may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds and “will also consider suggestions from management for additional or revised objectives.” The effort may identify additional organizations to work with during the evaluation.

The OIG announcement did not say how long the evaluation may last.

This effort comes in the wake of former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s resignation on April 7 after he had heavy criticism over his removal of the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) (Defense Daily, April 8)..

Modly relieved CVN-71’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, on April 2 for demonstrating poor judgement in a crisis by distributing a letter too widely. The attention-getting letter asked for help in removing most of the ship’s crew to deal with an outbreak of COVID-19

By early May, over 1,000 crew members tested positive for the virus with and most of the crew was eventually removed from the ship.

After Crozier was removed, 17 Democratic senators sent a letter to the OIG on April 3 asking for a formal investigation into the Navy’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak of the Roosevelt and the decision to remove Crozier. The Monday OIG announcement did not mention Crozier or his removal and only goes to overall Navy procedures on vessels.