Watch Those Little Cracks Around The Edges

by Craig Hooper on December 2, 2022

In the aftermath of the holidays, a few ugly old Navy bugbears are popping up. In one week, we have a fire aboard a carrier, another leak–this time of some nasty firefighting foam–at Red Hill, a near-collision in San Diego harbor, and now news that four sailors at Norfolk’s MARMC died by suicide just this month….If this keeps up, we’d better prepare for another major mishap.

Where’s the leadership? Where’s the SECNAV and CNO?

It’s frustrating to see these ugly things start to pile up right on the eve of the Air Force roll-out of their new B-21 bomber. And with the Navy’s “good news” on the operational side being the USS Gerald R. Ford’s somewhat lackluster shakedown, the Navy’s PR larder is pretty bare.

It’s frustrating to see. Air Force, Space Force and the Army are eating the Navy’s lunch. And the Navy’s apparent continued failure to keep their thumbs on some longstanding operational areas of risk, I sometimes wonder just who is minding the store. Navy leadership doesn’t seem to understand the likely consequences of a major operational incident right now.

It’s time for a change.

It’s not that the Navy needs to be more cautious. There’s far too much feigned helplessness and careerist timorousness in the Service already. Instead, the organization needs to be bold, while also keeping a strong managerial focus on the Navy’s persistent pain points.

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