The Naval Inspector General has launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the top enlisted sailor in the Navy, according to a defense official with direct knowledge of the probe.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith is the second consecutive enlisted leader of the sea service to come under such scrutiny.

The defense official, who asked to remain anonymous as they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter, did not specify the nature of the allegations.

Smith did not respond to a phone message Wednesday, but his spokesperson, Senior Chief Stacee McCarroll, declined to comment.

“I’m not allowed to talk about it right now,” she told Navy Times.

Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a Navy spokeswoman, also declined to comment.

“As a matter of policy, the Navy does not comment on the status of investigations or confirm if an individual is under investigation,” Momsen said in an email.

It remains unclear where the NAVIG investigation currently stands or whether it has been completed.

Smith became the sea service’s 15th MCPON in 2018, following the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, former MCPON Steven Giordano. Giordano left the post following a series of Navy Times stories detailing allegations about his hair trigger temper and accusations he behaved like a Hollywood diva.

While declining to discuss specific allegations against Smith, the defense official said they were not at the level of the misconduct alleged against former MCPON Giordano.

An IG report obtained by Navy Times in 2019 determined that Giordano turned subordinates into waiters who served him coffee and meals, berated his staffers and failed to report a gift given to him as a high-ranking official.

Smith enlisted in 1988 and was selected for the command master chief program in 2007, according to his official biography.

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 geoffz@militarytimes.com.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs, and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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