Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cruising for a Bruising?

Is our Navy getting slack? (Tip to Arthur K.) Two of our Aegis-equipped ships (a cruiser and a destroyer), which form the backbone of our surface fleet, were judged unfit for combat:

The InSurv inspectors pore over about 45 to 50 ships a year. Forty-seven ships underwent the inspections in 2007, Lewis said. Each year generally sees several ships do so poorly that they’re rated “unfit” for combat. But it is unusual for Aegis ships — considered the world’s most sophisticated and capable surface warships — to perform so badly.

Three ships were rated unfit for combat in fiscal 2007, Lewis said: a frigate, a dock landing ship and a mine countermeasures ship. Since fiscal 2008 began, there have been two more: the Stout and Chosin.

The Navy says this isn't a trend.

I'd say two captains who let their ships disintegrate under their command should be sacked, unless there are circumstances ureported that clear them. This is a command problem and there is no way that a properly run ship would allow all those problems to accumulate. And if this isn't a trend, letting the captains get away with this kind of slack discipline will make sure this becomes a trend.

I know we don't face any real opposition at sea from any type of peer competitor, but that shouldn't be an excuse for our fleet to atrophy under neglect. Bad things happen to badly run ships. And excellence squandered is not easily reclaimed.

I thought the Chesapeake Affair taught our Navy to never set sail without being absolutely combat ready. Apparently not.