USS San Juan commander relieved from duty

Groton — The Navy said Wednesday it has relieved Cmdr. Joseph Biondi from his duty as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS San Juan.

Biondi is one of five commanding officers relieved of their duties since January 2014 across the entire Navy, said Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for Submarine Group 2.

"Biondi's relief was related to shortfalls in professional performance, leading to leadership's loss of confidence in his ability to serve in a position of command authority," according to a Navy press release.

Capt. Vernon Parks, the commander of Submarine Development Squadron 12, relieved Boindi from his position because of "a loss of confidence in his ability to serve effectively as commanding officer," the release said.

The professional shortcomings were determined from periodic assessments and examinations over the course of his command tour, which began in April 2012, Hawkins said. The deficiencies were not related to personal misconduct. They had to do with how he did his job, Hawkins said. Hawkins would not describe the specifics of Biondi's professional shortcomings.

At this time Biondi has been reassigned to the staff of Commander, Submarine Group 2, which works for Rear Adm. Ken Perry, who has oversight responsibilities for attack submarines on the East Coast.

Biondi's future depends ultimately on what is recommended by the chain of command and the Naval Personnel Command during a formal process called "detach for cause."

"A detach for cause is the administrative removal of an officer from his current assignment before their normal transfer or planned rotation date," according to a military personnel document. "A DFC is one of the strongest administrative measures available."

The "detach for cause" is filed in the officer's personnel record and "has serious effects on the officer's potential promotion, duty assignments, selection for schools, and special assignments," according to the document. "The relieved commander will be reassigned pending the outcome of the formal process."

The Navy holds commanders to "very high standards" and holds them accountable when the standards are not met, the Navy press release said.

Biondi enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school in Spokane, Wash., in 1987 and his first assignment was on the USS Sunfish.

He reported to the Professor of Naval Science at Cornell University in January 1999 and served as a visiting lecturer. He completed a master's degree in industrial labor relations during his tour.

In April 2012 when Biondi was given command of the USS San Juan from Cmdr. Ollie Lewis he said, "Cmdr. Lewis and the crew have done an amazing job completing the modernization and returning to sea one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the fleet. I am looking forward to leading the crew in the employment of her new systems."

Biondi has been replaced by Cmdr. Sam Geiger, deputy commander at Submarine Squadron 4, until a permanent replacement is named. Geiger finished a three-year tour as commanding officer of the USS Toledo on May 16.


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