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Ranking Member Courtney Statement on Navy’s Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents

November 2, 2017
Press Release

Washington D.C. -- Congressman Joe Courtney, Ranking Member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, issued the following statement on the Navy’s Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents. Courtney was briefed by Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson and Fleet Forces Commander Philip Davidson last night on the findings of the review, which were publicly released today.

“The string of ship collisions and accidents that have occurred in the Western Pacific demand a bold change of course by the Navy to avoid heartbreaking and preventable loss of life from occurring again. The Review does not sugar coat the fact that glaring deficiencies in training and leadership subjected ships and Sailors to unacceptable risks in the ‘can do’ culture that predominated in the Western Pacific. Admiral Davidson’s Review, which contains 58 recommendations to create ‘fire breaks’ on a high operational tempo region, is a welcome and sobering product that must be taken seriously by all levels of Navy leadership.

“As I told Admiral Richardson and Admiral Davidson last night, Congress will be an active partner in ensuring that the recommendations issued today are acted on. This cannot be a moment that passes without action and follow-through -- it has to be the start of real and tangible change.  It is incumbent on all stakeholders, including Congress, that are responsible for the safe operation of the most capable navy in the world to implement the recommendations of this review as soon as possible.”

Among the 58 recommendations that are aimed at positive structural changes i.e. “fire breaks”, Congressman Courtney believes the following should be prioritized:

  1. Establishing a single headquarters command with direct reporting authority to the CNO that is solely responsible for the manning, training and equipping of Navy forces, to include the Western Pacific – which is not in place today.

  2. Requalification for all sailors on watch-stations affected by the installation of new tactical systems and significant technological upgrades– which was also previously not in effect on the navy’s surface ships.

  3. Cancellation of the all existing Risk Assessment Mitigation Plans (RAMPs), which had become an overused device to avoid completing required ship-wide certifications, including basic seamanship.

  4. Creation of the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific which is responsible for the monitoring and evaluating the readiness of forward deployed naval ships in homeported in Japan.

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