Kenneth Braithwaite sworn in as Navy secretary

Kenneth Braithwaite sworn in as Navy secretary
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The Navy on Friday gained its 77th secretary after a rocky six months during which two people in the role resigned and a coronavirus controversy caused upheaval in the ranks.

Kenneth Braithwaite, a retired admiral who has served as U.S. ambassador to Norway since 2018, was sworn in as the Navy and Marine Corps’ top civilian official in a ceremony at the Pentagon.

In a message to the fleet, Braithwaite warned of “significant challenges” facing sailors.

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“Make no mistake, we face significant challenges today. Our Nation is up against perhaps the greatest test of our commitment to the ideals we hold dear than at any time in our history...surely since the end of World War II. We must recognize this challenge for all it is and all it presents, lurking in the shadows of deceit or the depths of dishonesty.”

He added that the Navy will “persevere again” by relying on its core values, “Honor, Courage, and Commitment.”

Nominated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE in March, Braithwaite comes into the role following sharp criticism for the Navy over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. More than 1,000 sailors were infected aboard the ship, forcing it to be at port for two months in Guam.

Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned on April 7 after fanning the flames of the controversy surrounding the outbreak.

And Modly’s predecessor, Richard Spencer, was ousted in late November amid a dispute with Trump.

Spencer was fired amid the fallout from Trump’s decision to restore the rank of Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted in the military justice system of posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter but acquitted of murder.

In his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Braithwaite pledged to restore a culture of good order and discipline in the Navy, which he said was in “rough waters” after a “failure of leadership.”

Braithwaite also comes aboard as Congress is set to start the Pentagon’s annual budget for fiscal year 2021, in which the Navy is looking to grow the fleet to more than 355 ships.