The commanding officer of the Hawaii-based fast-attack submarine Charlotte was relieved of command Tuesday following an investigation that revealed leadership and command climate problems on the boat.

Submarine Force Pacific officials declined to specify what that investigation revealed about Cmdr. Joseph G. Lautenslager’s tenure as Charlotte’s commanding officer, but a statement released Wednesday said the higher ups lost confidence in his ability to command.

“Commanding officers are held to a very high standard,” SUBPAC said. “Their position requires the utmost responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable in cases where they fall short of those standards.”

Lautenslager could not be reached for comment.

Cmdr. Christopher Hedrick, Submarine Squadron 7′s deputy commander, has assumed command of Charlotte until a permanent replacement is named.

Lautenslager was commissioned in 1999 and took command of Charlotte in February 2019, according to service records.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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