Navy wide incompetence and not hacking caused the recent US Navy collisions

A 72 page unclassified report has been issued by the US Navy on the collisions involving the destroyers USS Fitzgerald and the USS McCain. It was not hacking but incompetence and inability to perform basic navigation and this problem was not just those two ships and not just the seventh fleet but is an endemic problem throughout the US Navy.

* Lookouts were looking in the wrong direction on the USS Fitzgerald.

FITZGERALD officers possessed an unsatisfactory level of knowledge of the International Rules of the Nautical Road. Watch team members were not familiar with basic radar fundamentals, impeding effective use.

The Officer of the Deck and bridge team failed to comply with the International Rules of the Nautical Road. Specifically:
FITZGERALD was not operated at a safe speed appropriate to the number of other ships in the immediate vicinity.
FITZGERALD failed to maneuver early as required with risk of collision present.

FITZGERALD failed to notify other ships of danger and to take proper action in extremis.

Watch team members responsible for radar operations failed to properly tune and adjust radars to maintain an accurate picture of other ships in the area.

Watchstanders performing physical look out duties did so only on FITZGERALD’s left (port) side, not on the right (starboard) side where the three ships were present with risk of collision.

Key supervisors responsible for maintaining the navigation track and position of other ships:
Were unaware of existing traffic separation schemes and the expected flow of traffic. Did not utilize the Automated Identification System. This system provides real time updates of commercial ship positions through use of the Global Positioning System.

* The bridge crew – including the commander – didn’t know how the helm worked on the USS McCain.

Much of the track leading up to the Singapore Traffic Separation Scheme was significantly congested and dictated a higher state of readiness. Had this occurred, maximum plant reliability could have been set with a Master Helmsman and a qualified Engineering Lee
Helm on watch.

If the CO had set Sea and Anchor Detail adequately in advance of entering the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme, then it is unlikely that a collision would have occurred. The plan for setting the Sea and Anchor Detail was a failure in risk management, as it required watch turnover of all key watch stations within a significantly congested TSS and only 30 minutes prior to the Pilot pickup.

If JOHN S MCCAIN had sounded at five short blasts or made Bridge-to-Bridge VHF hails or notifications in a timely manner, then it is possible that a collision might not have occurred.

If ALNIC had sounded at least five short blasts or made Bridge-to-Bridge VHF hails or notifications, then it is possible that a collision might not have occurred.

The Commanding Officer decided not to station the Sea and Anchor detail when appropriate, despite recommendations from the Navigator, Operations Officer and Executive Officer.

Senior officers and bridge watchstanders did not question the Helm’s report of a loss of steering nor pursue the issue for resolution.

The collisions that killed 17 sailors this summer were “preventable” lapses in basic seamanship, the Chief of Naval Operations admitted today.

Above- The USS McCain heads for Shanghai after a collision that killed 10 sailor

After USS Antietam ran aground in January, some crewmembers still needed to get time at-sea for their training and certifications, so they were transferred to the McCain. “This is not unusual,” said Richardson, but in this case, no one made sure the crewmembers from Antietam, a cruiser, were properly trained to operate the somewhat different equipment on the McCain, a destroyer. “A couple” of those ex-Antietam sailors were on the McCain‘s bridge at the time of the collision.

No one else on the McCain’s bridge seemed to know what they were doing, either, including the ship’s commander. When they belatedly realized a current was pushing them onto a collision course with oncoming ship traffic, they tried to adjust the steering system – reconfiguring it five times in the three minutes before impact. Instead of correcting course, they lost control of the ship.

One mistake on the Fitzgerald was even more basic. The ship had posted look-outs as it went through busy sea lanes, but they were only looking left (port). No one was watching the ship’s right (starboard) side – which of course is where it was hit.

Interestingly one of the main recommended Navy solution was to have more ships.

It is interesting that no matter what the problem one of main solutions is more ships.

With budget restrictions -instead of cutting back on procurement, the Navy cutback on maintenance and training.

32 thoughts on “Navy wide incompetence and not hacking caused the recent US Navy collisions”

  1. ” The bridge crew – including the commander – didn’t know how the helm worked on the USS McCain. ”

    Oh my God.

    What else can you say. These guys want megawatt lasers and cool geewhizz gadgets but they can’t even steer a ship, nay, even know how? So how will they perform in combat against the Chinese or Russian Navy?

    They will die.

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  2. The CO/XO of each of these ships was directly responsible for the accidents, not the 7th Fleet, the Navy in general, or watch-standers. The JAG manual investigations of these accidents will decide if or who goes to jail for killing American sailors.

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  3. When I joined the Navy an E-5 could get a pension with enough years, then it went to E-6, and finally before I got out it was E-7 (Chief Petty Officer). During that time I noticed a lot of people with 5, 10, or even 15 years of experience getting out because they couldn’t make rank. The Navy needed to push some of those people out for poor performance and because of bugeting but I think that turnover has been too high for too long and too many experienced sailors left.

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    • What such idiots as Abelard and warrentheape and merely unknowing people as Tom Billings claim is the cause is not — only this: the ships are low staffed to the point no one can be trained on the job, the people who knew how to do it have aged out, and Surface Warfare School which once gave at least classroom training in such things was ended to save money. On top of that the surface Navy unlike the submarine service insists on employing work schedules which mandate no one gets enough sleep to work effectively at a biological level.

      The majority of these mistakes were proposed during W. Bush’s administration and came from within the Navy, not from the outside.

      https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/273578/#comment-3481184950

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      • Not so fast, not so fast. Ask military members themselves whether standards under social experimenting presidents were not allowed to decline in frightening ways. General Janice Karpinski is an excellent example of social promotion in the US Army resulting in catastrophic incompetence, known now as Abu Ghraib. US Naval incompetence points to top-down decline of a systematic nature as well.

        It has been obvious for many years that the US military is used as a social experiment by those in power. Pointing the finger of idiocy at other commenters merely draws the spotlight of disdain upon oneself.

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        • The comment I pointed out and the agreements with it were coming from veterans. The training mistakes leading up to these collisions began before Obama.

          ” General Janice Karpinski is an excellent example of social promotion in the US Army resulting in catastrophic incompetence. ” <– No, Karpinski is not evidence of that. Every brass hat who has ever had charge of a prisoner can only hope their subordinates aren't psychopathic asshats like Graner was, and his crimes had already been discovered and were being investigated, and I have no doubts prosecuted.

          " It has been obvious for many years that the US military is used as a social experiment by those in power. " <– Sure, just like it was shame the armed forces were integrated. /s

          " Pointing the finger of idiocy at other commenters merely draws the spotlight of disdain upon oneself. " <– For dishonest hacks who like your lies and deflections, yes, that's how it works.

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      • There is a simple reason why there is money for weapons, but not for training in their use.
        Expenditures on weapons can be directed to political donors, and cronies. Training expenditures can not.

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      • Bush’s administration and came from within the Navy, not from the outside

        People don’t vote on the officers who run the Navy. They vote on the CINC who managies the officers who run thep Navy.

        So the buck stops with him. Unless it’s Obama – where this standard just magically does not apply but does for Bush who hasn’t been in command of the Navy for the last 9 years.

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        • And, you dumbass troll, this took place when Bush was President. It happened on his watch. To the extent it was any President’s call, it was his. The best the Navy could hope for under Obama was for him to ignore them as much as possible, and in this regard he did.

          Why shouldn’t every honest person have contempt for you when you deflect onto Obama what he had nothing to do with but leave alone?

          ” where this standard just magically does not apply but does for Bush ”

          Says the troll who won’t apply this standard to Trump!* . Three of the recent collisions took place on his watch, what does it take to get his attention?

          * And yes, it’s unfair to say this is Trump!’s fault, but it’s not more unfair than saying it’s Obama’s. The change which was a bad idea took place under Bush–and even there he had little to do with it.

          The Navy as an institution made a bad call–and to the extent any CiC had anything to do with it, it was Bush more than Obama or Trump! .

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    • Friends of mine in various branches of the armed forces agree that the training emphasis has been more towards SJW content than it has been towards preparation. One of my officer friends basically said “I wish I could train for basic proficiency instead of treating my men like potential rapists”.

      Readiness and expertise have degraded because neither of these was the focus of the previous administration. Mattis is working to reverse this but some officers have entrenched SJW culture and have even been promoted due to it so there is an awful lot of work to do.

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    • Well it is a relief to know that no-one in the USN is to blame for not training their crews in basic navigation and ship handling, and that it is all Obama’s fault.

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      • More a matter of Obama being responsible for the appointments and policy changes that led to the USN not training their crews in basic navigation and ship handling.

        But I’m sure they’re very diverse now, and well trained in the 23 basic pronoun forms.

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        • No Brett, all the changes to how watch officers on surface ships were trained which led to these collisions took place under Bush. That’s the timeline. Sorry it doesn’t agree with your fantasies.

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      • Mike H
        Well it is a relief to know that no-one in the USN is to blame for not training their crews in basic navigation and ship handling, and that it is all Obama’s fault.

        People don’t vote on the officers who run the Navy. They vote on the CINC who manages the officers who run the Navy.

        So the buck stops with him. Unless it’s Obama – where this standard just magically does not apply but does for Bush who hasn’t been in command of the Navy for the last 9 years. At least in Mike H’s and tdperk’s alternate fantasy world.

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        • Well you lying troll the officers who made the bad call to change how watch officers were trained were appointed under Bush then, so the buck stops with him. That’s a fact.

          Dodge that.

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  4. The Russians were testing their stealth technology using freighters as platforms. Russian technology is far in advance of US, especially in computer technology as evidenced by how easily they can hack US social media and elections.

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  5. Yeah, we are seeing what happens after a Lefty like Obama disassembles the world’s strongest Navy for 8 years. It will take a long time to replace the incompetent line officers he ushered in; tighten up the rules again; bring the training back up to speed, and replace the dated equipment…

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    • It is rather terrifying that the largest nuclear Navy in the world can’t even manage standards a low wage Philippine crew is expected to. You literally can’t drive a ship and we expect them to fight a war?

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      • When money for training in basic seamanship goes to diversity efforts, this is the sort of seamanship you get. If we are lucky, it will only take 12 years to repair the damage done to the personnel structure of the Navy by the ten years from January of 12007 to January of 2017. Yes, I’m counting the time that Congress was controlled by Democrats as well as Obama’s years. The Executive proposes budgets, but the legislature disposes.

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            • The reply that I ripped to shreds.

              By ripping to shreds, did you mean your claim that the USN need not take responsibility for training its own crews, because that’s the president’s job?

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            • No, you didn’t. You can’t change the timeline of the decisions that lead up to this, and those changes were made under Bush.

              Doesn’t it just burn you that you paid all that money to Disqus, and now you can’t edit people posts out from under them and disappear them, you damn lying troll.

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        • Because the book beautifully illustrated the nepotism of the incompetent and physical breakdown inherent in socialist systems. Using the military for “social justice” takes away from its primary mission, Killing and competency in killing. Maneuvering a multimillion dollar weapons platform should take charge over trans-gender issues, diversity issues, women’s issues.

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