June 14, 2019
Best of the States
APNewsBreak: Navy reassigns unconventional war college head after AP reveals probe
“... Due to the distractions caused by the unfounded AP article last week, I am stepping down as President of YOUR college effective immediately.”
Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley, head of the elite U.S. Naval War College, pushed the button on that all-staff missive Monday after the Navy announced it was reassigning him in the wake of exclusive reporting by Jennifer McDermott and Michelle R. Smith – reporting that produced two APNewsBreaks in 72 hours.
Their first NewsBreak moved Friday, confirming the military was investigating allegations that Harley spent excessively, abused his hiring authority and otherwise behaved inappropriately, including keeping a margarita machine in his office. Three days later, the AP team was first again with word that the Navy was removing Harley from his post pending the outcome of its probe.
Both stories gained huge traction with customers and on social media. The scoops by McDermott’s and Smith were “just the tip of the iceberg,” one source said, and they’ve since led to new tips.
For dogged and diligent reporting that exposed questionable leadership at the heart of the Navy’s brain trust, McDermott and Smith win this week’s Best of the States prize.