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Thread: What it will take to fix the Navy and who can do it

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    What it will take to fix the Navy and who can do it

    What it will take to fix the Navy — and who can do it


    Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations.

    By David Ignatius
    7/31/20

    Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, sent a bracing message to his admirals and chief petty officers in July after he toured the aftermath of the horrific fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego. “My gut tells me our Sailors met that challenge head on,” Gilday wrote to his senior staff. His advice: “Focus on the positive attributes — that will overcome the negatives we want to avoid.” This is the kind of upbeat message that Navy commanders have for centuries delivered from the bridge while facing adversity. But is it enough? After a chain of accidents at sea, ethical lapses and instances of poor judgment over the past half-dozen years, the shipboard fire earlier this month offers another siren warning that the Navy is badly stressed — operating too hard, with too little training and too much political interference. And fixing the Navy matters to the country: The era of ground combat in the Middle East is coming to an end, but the need to project sea power in Asia to contain a rising China is just beginning. Gilday discussed the Navy’s problems with me during a frank, hour-long interview last week, initiated at his request. When I asked for his “theory of the case” about what’s wrong, he focused on two areas. The first was professional competency, the second involved character lapses.

    Gilday says he wants to reboot the Navy’s core culture, which begins with proficiency at sea. The Navy’s operations tempo has been so stretched over the past two decades that officers and sailors don’t have time to learn good seamanship and navigation. The sea is unforgiving; it magnifies the smallest mistakes. And sadly, in this stressed fleet, too many have cut ethical corners. The Navy could begin its reset by shelving, for now, the obsession with adding more ships. Each CNO likes to boast about increased ship count, but the unfortunate truth is that the Navy can’t operate the 301 ships it has now, let alone the 355 it wants by 2034. Rather than more ships, it needs more seamanship — and maybe more support from the other services and a bit less insistence on cross-military “jointness” while it rebuilds. The Navy’s troubles continued, compounded by political interference. Commanders knew a decade ago that the Navy SEALs had become too famous for their own good, and that discipline was eroding. The SEAL crisis hit the breaking point with the case of Eddie Gallagher. The Crozier incident was one more fireball for the Navy. The Navy is hurting now, and it needs strong, sustained leadership. If Gilday has a normal tour, he probably has three more years at the helm.
    Navy culture is badly eroding, and pride is disappearing. I agree with Adm. Gilday that it would be better for the Navy to concentrate on culture, training and seamanship, and attenuate plans for a 355 ship Navy.

    The number of ships in a fleet is immaterial if the officers/sailors on those ships don't know what they are doing and don't care much either.


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    Re: What it will take to fix the Navy and who can do it

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Valley View Post
    What it will take to fix the Navy — and who can do it


    Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations.



    Navy culture is badly eroding, and pride is disappearing. I agree with Adm. Gilday that it would be better for the Navy to concentrate on culture, training and seamanship, and attenuate plans for a 355 ship Navy.

    The number of ships in a fleet is immaterial if the officers/sailors on those ships don't know what they are doing and don't care much either.
    Putting out a fire after a pressurized explosion in order to save their ship reflects culture, training and seamanship by the crew of the Bonhomme Richard.

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    Re: What it will take to fix the Navy and who can do it

    I disagree. I think the number of ships and having adequate numbers of sailors and airmen and plenty of training and maintenance is all of vital importance.

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    Re: What it will take to fix the Navy and who can do it

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Valley View Post
    [



    Navy culture is badly eroding, and pride is disappearing. I agree with Adm. Gilday that it would be better for the Navy to concentrate on culture, training and seamanship, and attenuate plans for a 355 ship Navy.

    The number of ships in a fleet is immaterial if the officers/sailors on those ships don't know what they are doing and don't care much either.
    A good advertising campaign.


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