Guantanamo Bay prison commander fired over 'loss of confidence in his ability to command'

The commander of the task force that runs the prison at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been fired, according to military officials.

Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of Southern Command, relieved Navy Rear Admiral John Ring of duty Saturday due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to a statement from U.S. Southern Command.

"This change in leadership will not interrupt the safe, humane, legal care and custody provided to the detainee population," the statement said.

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Army Brigadier General John Hussey, who served as deputy commander under Ring, has been named acting commander.

Ring, a former commander of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, took charge of Joint Task Force in April 2018. He was to be replaced as part of a scheduled rotation in less than two months.

Military officials say that U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Ring, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander, has been fired for a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” A statement from U.S. Southern Command says Ring was relieved of duty Saturday, April 27.

Military officials say that U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Ring, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander, has been fired for a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” A statement from U.S. Southern Command says Ring was relieved of duty Saturday, April 27. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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A Southern Command spokeswoman, Colonel Amanda Azubuike, said the decision to terminate Ring came at the end of an investigation that began in March.

"The vast majority of commanders complete their assigned tours with distinction," Azubuike said.

"When they fall short, we hold our leaders accountable, which reflects the importance we place on the public's trust and confidence in our military leaders,” she said, adding Ring “will be temporarily assigned duties elsewhere.”

Azubuike also dismissed speculation that the firing was related to a news media visit Ring hosted at the facility earlier this month, during which he expressed concern about caring for aging detainees.

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The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was built in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. But the detention center, sometimes referred to as "Gitmo," opened more than a century later – in January 2002 – under former President George W. Bush as a place to detain and interrogate people with suspected links to terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

At its peak in mid-2003, the facility held nearly 700 prisoners. Now, it holds approximately 40.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.