Actor Mark Harmon, in this role as Agent Jethro Gibbs, is probably the name most associated with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS. That may change with the selection of our old friend Andrew Traver to head NCIS.
Traver was selected by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on Friday to become the Director of NCIS. Unlike promotions to admiral and other high civilian posts, the Director of NCIS does not need Senate confirmation.
“Andrew Traver is absolutely the right person to lead the NCIS,” said Mabus. “His strong law enforcement background and experience make him the ideal choice to guide NCIS in preventing and solving crimes and helping to counter those who would do us harm. As a former Naval officer, he understands the Navy and Marine Corps and the evolving security issues we face today.”
Traver is currently the SAC of the BATFE’s Denver Field Division and was previously the SAC of the Chicago Field Division. We in the gun community know Mr. Traver as Obama’s failed nominee to head BATFE as well as being an anti-gunner.
The Obama Administration is famous for throwing people under the bus and Traver was one of those. After B. Todd Jones was named Acting Director of BATFE, it was clear that Traver would never get the post of Director. This post as Director of NCIS may be his consolation prize for being a loyalist and keeping his mouth shut during the whole time he was being considered for BATFE Director.
Since Secretary of the Navy Mabus is using Traver’s former service as a Naval officer as part of the rationale for appointing him to be head of NCIS, I think it is fair to ask more questions about his service. According to the questionnaire he submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he only served in the Navy from November 1985 until May 1987.
The questionnaire also reports that he left the Navy early as an Ensign with a “Hardship Discharge/Resignation”. The normal service commitment is 3 to 5 years for Naval officers. As I said back in 2010, I wondered why he left a growing Navy that needed officers for its planned 600 ship Navy to join a local police department and then a backwater Treasury Department agency. It still would be interesting to know what the “hardship” was that allowed Traver to leave the Navy before fulfilling his normal service commitment. Given that he won’t be going through a confirmation hearing I doubt we’ll ever know.