This time from a retired Navy Captain who served on active duty from 1974 – 2003; followed by 10 years of Pentagon experience.
“CAPT F.” makes some interesting comparisons between Fleet draw-downs post Vietnam and the 1990’s. He provides some pretty blunt thoughts on the role of training priorities:
I am willing to bet that those ships involved in incidents with merchants had all their sexual orientation, transgender training, and environmental training all completed at the expense of the safety and operational training.
The recurring theme is that leadership lapses and a problematic acquisition process repeatedly put the Navy in the position of making up shortfalls with available manpower. He specifically sites a failure to overcome institutional barriers to implementing Task Force Excel (for those of you that may remember!) I found his perspective as Fleet Training Center Norfolk particularly insightful:
…In other words, we should have been taking into account the fact that each of those men was going to have to have the knowledge, skills and abilities of about six people in order to do their jobs. The DDX was originally meant to be manned by 75 people versus the 250 to 350 men found on either the DDG51s, Spruance cans or Tico cruisers.
To put it mildly – a pretty unfortunate surprise for the CO of FTC; in my view a strong case for improved ‘readiness engineering’ within the Navy.