Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, said Monday he has submitted a request to retire after being told he will not be chosen as a nominee to succeed Adm. Harry Harris as commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).
Swift said in a statement this is in keeping with tradition and he retires “with great appreciation and gratitude for the honor of having served so many Sailors and their families for what will be 40 years in January.”
He said he submitted the retirement request now to provide the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and other Defense Department leaders with time to select a successor.
“Submitting this request now is done with an abundance of respect and admiration for the CNO and his leadership, as well as for the Chairman and Secretary of Defense as both of them face the challenge of selecting someone to step into the leadership role Adm. Harris has filled with such distinction over the last three years,” Swift added.
Swift said he did not request a specific retirement date because “there is much work to be done here in the Pacific area of responsibility” and he will stay on as long as the department leadership wants him.
“Whether my timeline of remaining service is six weeks or six months, I will fill that time with the energy of an Ensign and the wisdom drawn from the 140,000 Sailors who report for duty every morning in the Pacific Fleet,” he said.
Swift assumed command of the Pacific Fleet in May 2015. He previously served as director of the Navy Staff at the Pentagon, director of Operations for U.S. Pacific Command, commander of Strike Fighter Weapons School-Pacific, F/A-18 requirements officer-OPNAV, and officer of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics staff.
Swift’s request comes as the Navy is conducting numerous investigations into fatal collisions between U.S. destroyers and merchant ships as well as other navigation mishaps.
To date, the Navy has relieved from duty two commanding officers, one Commander, one Captain, as well as the squadron, two-star strike group, and a three-star fleet commander involved or overseeing the ships involved in the mishaps. It has also issued 20 reprimands to officers (Defense Daily, Sept. 19).
It is not clear if Swift’s decision or the decision not to nominate him as PACOM commander is related to the investigations.