Here is a Navy Times report on the relief of NDSL San Diego’s CO and XO for command climate issues.  Here is the official Navy press release.

The article also notes the relief of the USS COLUMBIA (SSN 771) CO and CMC the same day.

8 Responses to “Navy Drug Screening Lab CO and XO Relieved”

  1. Rob Klant says:

    Can one have a command climate so poor as to support relief of both the CO and XO, but which has no effect on the command’s ability to carry out its mission?   To find out, I suppose I’d be looking for the survey and any comments by employees as part of my discovery.

  2. Charles Gittins says:

    I also heard some sort of an audit of the command may be going on.  I wonder what they are auditing? 

  3. Phil Cave says:

    Charlie, remember when Mills first had issues and they did an audit.  What did they do – rather what didn’t they do — tell people.  It was only after Mills did it again that USACIL felt it needed to give Brady disclosures.

    I expect that they will stonewall, but that at some time in the far future when it’s too late, we’ll find out something that could of helped clients.

    Cynical.  Absolutely!!!

    It’s a military drug program.  No way they are going to admit problems which cast the program in bad light or cause questions about the forensic reliability of their gold standard program.

    I will say that they need to leave Lisa McWhorter. in command.  She’s honest. 

  4. Charles Gittins says:

    My comment was definitely tongue in cheek.  The audit, I am sure has to do with the efficacy of their program.  Big Navy can’t be trusted to tell the truth.  

  5. k fischer says:


    When I was TDS, I represented an E-7 National Guardsman who popped hot for cocaine who absolutely denied using cocaine.  I obtained from the TDS website a copy of an example of your cross examination of a drug expert I believe from a CLE that you did where you shared it.  It was brilliant, I used it, and the board found the E-7 commited misconduct and should be discharged with an honorable discharge, but recommended suspending the discharge.

    So, whenever a Marine or Sailor in your neck of the woods with a drug charge calls me, I tell them to call you.

  6. Dew_Process says:

    Phil – I think the phrase “good enough for government work” is apt.  Add to that the mind-set of “protecting” a conviction at any cost and we get the nightmare that Mills created.

    A few years ago while representing a Navy E-8 who popped hot for cocaine, like KF’s client, mine also adamantly denied any cocaine use.  After many hours of cross-examination, the then CO of the JAX NDSL admitted that they could not accurately ascertain the number of false positives for cocaine in his (and the military’s) lab because BZE is not a true metabolite of cocaine.  Rather than litigate my then Daubert motion to strike/preclude, they withdrew and dismissed the charge/spec.  A week later, my client was “attached” to a ship for 24 hours, taken to Mast for cocaine use, found “guilty” and returned to shore duty.  At his subsequent AdSep Board, after laying out the above sequence (with the lab’s CO’s testimony), the Board found “No Misconduct.”

    While that might be an isolated incident, when I asked for a copy of the tape-recording of the Lab’s CO’s testimony (for future use and dissemination), the Navy denied it, FOIA refused it and my client just wanted to finish the 14 or so months he had left to get to 20, and dropped the matter.  Always glad to see another member of the “cynical” club.

  7. interested onlooker says:


    I’m a little slow sometimes, the AdSep Board found “No Misconduct” by the client, or by the government? 

  8. Charles Gittins says:

    These days, I rarely get to litigate a drug case.  Once I make an appearance the case ends up at an ad board.  My cross + military judge alone = acquittal.  At an ad board, the food fight mentality and conservative nature of military members limits the efficacy of an examination exposing the significant limitations of the drug screening program to identify someone who has “knowingly” used illegal drugs.