Saturday, June 22, 2024

Command Senior Chief Convicted For Setting Up Wi-Fi On US Navy Combat Ship

 The former command senior chief of the littoral combat ship Manchester’s gold crew, Senior Chief Grisel Marrero, has been convicted at a court-martial for installing an unauthorized Wi-Fi system aboard the ship and subsequently lying about it to her superiors.

The conviction, which took place in March, has raised significant concerns about operational security and the integrity of leadership within the Navy.

Unauthorized Wi-Fi Installation

According to records obtained by Navy Times, Marrero, who has a background in Navy intelligence, willfully coordinated the procurement, installation, and use of an unauthorized and unapproved Wi-Fi system onboard the Manchester between March 2023 and August 2023.

Such systems are generally banned aboard Navy ships due to cybersecurity concerns.

Her actions were deemed a willful dereliction of duty, as she failed to safeguard the ship against operational security risks.

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Before her trial, Naval Surface Force Pacific (SURFPAC) quietly relieved Marrero from her leadership position aboard the Manchester in September due to a “loss of confidence.”

SURFPAC officials have declined to discuss the case in further detail. Marrero, who declined to comment for this report, was sentenced to a rank reduction to E-7 in March.

Marrero’s case was not the only high-level relief aboard Manchester’s gold crew last year.

In May 2023, the Navy also ousted the second-in-command of the ship’s gold crew, Cmdr. Matthew Yokeley.

SURFPAC has stated that Marrero’s and Yokeley’s reliefs were not related but declined to provide further details regarding the reasons for Yokeley’s ouster.

Court-Martial and Guilty Pleas

At a special court-martial earlier this year, Marrero pleaded guilty to willful dereliction of duty charge specifications.

She also pleaded guilty to two false official statement charge specifications, which involved her telling the commanding officer that there was no Wi-Fi aboard the Manchester.

Marrero pleaded not guilty to an obstruction of justice charge but was found guilty at trial.

This charge involved an incident near Naval Base Guam in August 2023, where Marrero altered a data usage image on a chief’s mess Starlink account to reflect less data usage.

She did this to “influence or impede” pending criminal or disciplinary actions against another Navy member.

Additional Disciplinary Actions

SURFPAC spokesman Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told Navy Times that other sailors were also disciplined regarding the unauthorized Wi-Fi, but he declined to provide further details.

Marrero is currently assigned to the Naval Surface Forces.

The Manchester was in or around San Diego, Hawaii, and Guam at the time of Marrero’s crimes.

This case highlights the critical importance of adhering to cybersecurity protocols and maintaining the integrity of Navy leadership.

The unauthorized installation of Wi-Fi systems poses significant risks to operational security, and the Navy’s response underscores its commitment to addressing such breaches.

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Divya is a Senior Journalist at GBhackers covering Cyber Attacks, Threats, Breaches, Vulnerabilities and other happenings in the cyber world.

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