BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making: The USS Theodore Roosevelt

BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making The USS Theodore Roosevelt

Part 1: Analysis of Captain Crozier’s Decision


Ethics play a significant role in our daily routines, particularly within our occupations, as they embody a code of conduct and regulations concerning responsibility. It is a belief system that all humans grapple with, especially when faced with ethical dilemmas that arise from conflicting orders and personal moral beliefs. Captain Crozier from the USS Theodore Roosevelt found himself in such a situation when he decided to write a memo pleading for the care of his crew during a COVID-19 outbreak on the vessel.

Ethical Dilemma

As of March 2020, the entire world, including the United States, enforced a nationwide lockdown to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections. To help combat the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines for individuals to follow. These guidelines include isolating oneself for at least two weeks if diagnosed with the virus, maintaining a distance of six feet or more from others, regularly sanitizing shared spaces, and frequently washing one’s hands.

The Navy also had its own set of rules and regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, outlined in the NAVADMIN 083/20 guidance issued on March 17, 2020. According to the direction, individuals returning from high-risk CDC locations or having close contact with a COVID-19-positive person were required to quarantine for 14 days. It also specified that those awaiting COVID-19 test results should remain isolated, defined as restricting close contact within 6 feet or 2 meters with others.

BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making: The USS Theodore Roosevelt

Captain Crozier’s decision to write a memo requesting the evacuation of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and leaving a skeleton crew on board for cleaning, disinfection, and day-to-day operations was based on his belief that it was both within the NAVADMIN 083/20 guidance and ethically necessary for the well-being of his crew. As the commanding officer, he felt a profound responsibility for the health and lives of the approximately 5,000 staff on board the vessel.

  1. Identify an ethical dilemma: Captain Crozier’s memo came after more than 100 crew members had already been infected with COVID-19, and the limited space on the ship made it difficult to effectively implement the CDC and NAVADMIN guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.
  2. Evaluate the ethical dilemma: Captain Crozier had several options. He could have remained silent, allowing the virus to continue spreading and potentially resulting in loss of life among the crew. Alternatively, he could have followed protocol and reported the issue through the chain of command, trusting that the Navy would respond promptly. Lastly, he could break protocol and bring attention to the severity of the situation by involving individuals outside the chain of command.
  3. Consider the possible outcomes: Captain Crozier, an experienced Navy officer, knew that breaking protocol could lead to severe consequences, including termination and potential legal repercussions. However, he believed that taking the risk to save lives was ethically justified.
  4. The action was taken: On March 30, 2020, Captain Crozier decided to break protocol and issued a memo to 30 individuals, highlighting the rapid spread of COVID-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt and urging for the evacuation and isolation of the crew.

The primary failures in Captain Crozier’s communication stem from his decision to deviate from established protocol. One major failure was the inclusion of multiple recipients in the memo, which violated security protocols and compromised the confidentiality of the information. This breach of protocol resulted in the memo being leaked to the media and ultimately led to Captain Crozier’s dismissal. The leaked memo also contained classified information about the ship’s operations, creating an additional security breach and potentially providing adversaries with valuable insights.

However, it is essential to recognize that Captain Crozier’s actions were driven by a genuine concern for the well-being of the sailors under his command. Per CDC guidelines, he intended to bring attention to the situation’s urgency and request support to evacuate and isolate the crew. By taking this action, Captain Crozier aimed to protect the lives of his crew members and prevent the further spread of the virus within the confined space of the ship.

BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making: The USS Theodore Roosevelt

Speaking out against a company or disclosing sensitive information without proper channels can have severe repercussions, including loss of employment and possible legal action. In the private sector, similar activities likely result in termination and potential legal consequences. Like the military, the private sector holds individuals accountable for their actions and expects adherence to established protocols and confidentiality standards.

Captain Crozier’s decision to break protocol and issue a memo requesting assistance was driven by his ethical obligation to protect the lives of his crew members. While there were failures in how he communicated his concerns, his intent to prioritize the well-being of his team was commendable. 

The situation highlights the ethical dilemmas that leaders may face when their values clash with established protocols. Companies must cultivate a workplace environment that respects transparent communication, moral choices and prioritizes the safety and health of individuals. Striking a balance between compliance and safeguarding staff members is critical.

Ethical Decision-Making in the Private Sector and its Outcomes

Speaking out against one’s company or disclosing sensitive information can lead to immediate termination and potential legal consequences. For instance, in my workplace at a condiment company, if I were to voice concerns about manufacturing processes or leak confidential ingredient information, I would face disciplinary action, potentially including termination. 

The outcome would have been the same if a similar situation had occurred in the private sector. Individuals must understand the consequences of their actions and be mindful of the information they share, even in passing. The position of being a captain in the Navy does not exempt individuals from facing accountability for their decisions.

Navigating ethical dilemmas can be challenging, particularly when personal values conflict with established protocols. Captain Crozier found himself in a difficult situation where he believed that the well-being and lives of his crew outweighed strict adherence to the chain of command. Despite the consequences he faced, including his removal from duty and the subsequent resignation of the acting Navy secretary, Captain Crozier decided based on his conscience and the principles he deemed essential.

The case of Captain Crozier and the USS Theodore Roosevelt serves as a reminder that ethical dilemmas are prevalent in various contexts, including the military and the private sector. When faced with such difficulties, it is crucial to identify the issue, evaluate available options, consider the potential consequences, and act under one’s values. 

While some individuals may be rewarded for their ethical choices, others may face negative repercussions. Ultimately, ethical decision-making is a complex process that requires thoughtful consideration and a willingness to accept the outcomes, even when unfavorable.

BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making: The USS Theodore Roosevelt

The lessons learned from Captain Crozier’s situation extend beyond the immediate context of the COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. They highlight the ongoing importance of ethical leadership, open communication, and the need for organizations to foster an environment where individuals feel empowered to raise concerns without fear of retribution. By promoting ethical conduct and prioritizing the well-being of personnel, organizations can build trust, resilience, and a culture of integrity that benefits everyone involved.

In conclusion, Captain Crozier’s decision and subsequent actions ignited a broader conversation about the balance between following orders and ethical responsibilities. While opinions may vary on the appropriateness of his approach, his case catalyzes reflection and reevaluation of the systems, protocols, and ethical frameworks within organizations. Through such introspection and ongoing dialogue, we can strive to create environments that uphold ethical principles while ensuring the safety and well-being of all.

Ethical Decision-Making in the Private Sector and its Outcomes

The outcome would be comparable if a similar situation had occurred in the private sector. The individual responsible for speaking out against their company, especially when it involves sensitive information or breaches of confidentiality, would likely face immediate termination and potential legal consequences. 

Individuals must recognize that their actions have effects, even if their intentions are well-meaning. Captain Crozier’s position as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt did not exempt him from accountability for his actions.

Ethical dilemmas present ongoing challenges in various contexts, including the workplace. When faced with such difficulties, it is crucial to identify the issue, evaluate the available options, consider the potential consequences, and act by one’s ethical beliefs. 

Ethical dilemmas will always pose challenges, and the outcomes may vary, as exemplified by the case of Captain Crozier and the subsequent resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly. Captain Crozier weighed his options carefully and performed based on what he believed to be the right course of action, despite the potential job loss.

Part 2: Lessons Learned from the USS Theodore Roosevelt


To: Jane Doe, Public Affairs Officer, U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

From: Yolanda Puente, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

Date: July 19, 2022

Subject: Lessons Learned from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

This interoffice memorandum aims to outline critical issues that require our attention. In light of the recent events involving former Captain Crozier and the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, we must address several key points we can learn from. To ensure the confidentiality of this memorandum, it is being delivered through our secure interoffice email server.

  1. Method of Communication

Effective communication is crucial in our line of work, and it is essential to utilize secure channels for all forms of communication. I want to emphasize that all personnel must communicate exclusively through email on our secure network. Using any other servers or platforms is strictly prohibited to mitigate the risk of potential security breaches. Reports have suggested that former Captain Crozier may have utilized unauthorized servers to send his memorandum, which violates protocol and compromises the confidentiality of information.

  1. Intended Audience of Communication

Maintaining proper control over information dissemination is paramount to our operations’ success and security. All personnel must understand that any correspondence or communication should be restricted to interoffice email and only be sent to external resources with my prior approval. Former Captain Crozier included individuals outside the chain of command in his communication, possibly extending beyond the Naval forces. This unauthorized inclusion of recipients outside our established channels may have contributed to the leaked information and undermined the security protocols. BUS 3050 Unit 2 Assignment 1 Ethical Decision Making: The USS Theodore Roosevelt 

  1. Open Lines of Communication

One of the fundamental principles of effective leadership is maintaining open lines of communication throughout the chain of command. It is essential for everyone to feel comfortable expressing their concerns, questions, or issues. Should anyone within our ranks have fears, I want to reiterate that my door is always open. Our well-established chain of command should always be followed, ensuring that information flows smoothly and efficiently. By fostering an environment of open communication, we can address challenges and address them promptly.

  1. Protocol

The Naval Force has specific protocols to guide our actions and decisions. We must adhere to these protocols and commands issued by our superiors. However, there may be instances where doubts or questions arise regarding an order or protocol. In such cases, I encourage all personnel to approach me promptly to discuss their concerns. Following the appropriate protocols in communicating fears is essential, as it ensures that the chain of command remains intact and minimizes the risk of miscommunication or unauthorized disclosures. We can resolve misunderstandings and clarify problems by engaging in open dialogue.

Effective communication is crucial for our mission’s success. To ensure operational security and uphold our commitment to the nation, please follow the guidelines outlined in this memorandum. I appreciate your cooperation.

Patrik James


CNO WASHINGTON DC. (2020, March 17). RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT (ROM) GUIDANCE. Www.navy.mil. [Online]. Available at: https://www.navy.mil/Resources/NAVADMINs/Message/Article/2338474/restriction-of-movement-rom-guidance/

Ethics – Definition of Ethics by Webster Dictionary. (n.d.). Www.webster-Dictionary.net. [Online]. Available at:


Gafni, M., & Garofoli, J. (2020, March 31). Exclusive: Captain of an aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy. San Francisco Chronicle. [Online]. Available at:


Pappas, S. (2020, April 15). How a coronavirus disaster unfolded on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Livescience.com. [Online]. Available at:


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