Top Guantanamo Bay Commander Fired Following Investigation

The top military commander in charge of the detention facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was relieved of his command over the weekend by SOUTHCOM commander Adm. Craig Faller due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, officials said in a release. 

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Ring, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander, pauses while speaking during a roundtable discussion with the media on April 17, 2019. ALEX BRANDON/AP

Navy Rear Adm. John Ring was fired on Saturday as the commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, after leading some 1,700 personnel responsible for the oversight of 40 'law of war' detainees captured in Iraq and Afghanistan almost two decades ago, according to Stripes. Ring took command of JTF-GTMO in April, 2018, and was fired following a monthlong investigation that concluded in mid-April. 

Faller’s decision came at the conclusion of a monthlong investigation that was completed in mid-April, said Jose Ruiz, a SOUTHCOM spokesman. He declined to provide additional information about that probe, including the reason it was launched. Ring will soon be assigned temporary duties elsewhere within SOUTHCOM.

Army Brig. Gen. John Hussey, who had been serving as Ring’s deputy, was named the acting commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, according to the statement. -Stripes

"This change in leadership will not interrupt the safe, humane, legal care and custody provided to the detainee population" at Guantanamo Bay, according to the statement by SOUTHCOM. 

Ring had been pushing for new facilities at the detention center located on the southeastern coast of Cuba. Last year he described the classified Camp 7 facility as 'deteriorating' according to Stripes. Ring has also said that he wanted more funding to care for the aging population of enemy combatants - some of whom are in their 70s. 

The admiral made similar pitches to reporters visiting the base this month, according to news reports in the New York Times and Defense One. A SOUTHCOM official told the Times that Ring’s removal was not related to those news reports.

Ring was commissioned into the Navy in 1988. His past commands include Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, the USS Comstock dock landing ship and the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. -Stripes

Army Brig. Gen. John Hussey - who has been the deputy commander of JTF-GTMO, will serve as its acting commander until a permanent replacement is chosen. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan.