Many warnings of readiness 'crisis' before latest ship accidents

Monday’s collision between USS John S. McCain as well as a tanker off the coast of Singapore — where one sailor was found dead as well as another nine are missing as well as presumed dead — has sparked a completely new round of questions about the Navy’s readiness as well as training, as of which’s the fourth major collision for the Navy inside Pacific of which year.

nevertheless the warnings about the military’s readiness problems are nothing completely new, as well as the Navy isn’t alone in seeing a spike in major non-combat incidents as well as fatalities.

“I think of which’s probably approaching a readiness crisis,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican as well as Air Force veteran. “You have, in many cases, a Navy of which is usually highly operational as well as may not get the time or the chance to train as deeply or as much as they want. You have old equipment. You have failing equipment because of which’s not being repaired or invested in. These are all concerns when of which comes to of which.”

After the McCain collision, the Navy ordered a one-day operational pause across the entire fleet in order to examine the root causes of the accidents. The commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, which operates inside Pacific, was dismissed inside fallout.
The issues extend beyond Navy ships. The Marine Corps also issued a one-day grounding for all of its aircraft earlier of which month following two deadly crashes. The Navy has said more than half of its aircraft cannot fly, while the Air Force is usually short more than 1,500 pilots. as well as all the military services expressed concerns about training as well as maintenance inside past year following a spate of aircraft training accidents.

“The competitive advantage of which the United States military has long enjoyed is usually eroding,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joe Dunford warned at a June Senate armed services hearing.

‘A broken record’

The readiness problems stem by a variety of issues, including 16 years of the wars in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, conflicts of which have stretched service members across the globe as well as the 2011 Budget Control Act constraining the military budget.

The budget caps have been a constant alarm bell. In order to deal with the budget constraints, the military has cut or deferred training as well as maintenance so of which’s deployed forces stay ready.

of which’s an unsustainable path, military leaders have warned.

US Navy 7th Fleet commander dismissed, Navy says

“Our testimony today may seem like a broken record,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran said at a February House armed services committee hearing. “Our Navy faces increased demand without the size as well as resources required to properly maintain as well as train for our future. as well as every year we’ve had to make tough choices often choosing to sacrifice long-term readiness to make sure we be ready to answer the call today.”

At the same hearing, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said the Air Force was “out of balance.”

“of which nonstop combat, paired with the budget instability as well as lower than planned top lines has been the United States Air Force, the smallest, oldest equipment as well as least ready in our history,” Wilson said. “We’ve attempted to balance risk across force to maintain readiness. as well as we’ve forced to make unacceptable trades between readiness for structure as well as modernization.”

Ships based overseas

While the cause of the USS McCain collision has not been determined, there were warnings of which destroyers including the McCain as well as the USS Fitzgerald — which collided which has a container ship off the coast of Japan in June — were more at risk.

A 2015 Government Accountability Office report raised concerns about ships of which were stationed at ports overseas, in order to be more quickly as well as effectively deployed.

The report found incidents of degraded or out-of-service equipment on ships ported overseas had doubled over the past 5 years. The GAO concluded of which the “high pace of operations the Navy uses for overseas-homeported ships limits dedicated training as well as maintenance periods, which has resulted in difficulty keeping crews fully trained as well as ships maintained.”

Why are so many Navy ships crashing?

The report specifically singled out Japan-based cruisers as well as destroyers, noting of which those ships spend 67% of their time deployed, 33% in maintenance as well as did not have a dedicated training period — compared to US-based cruisers as well as destroyers of which spent 60% of their time in dedicated training as well as maintenance periods.

“of which creates sort of a backdrop of where the risk of problems just increases,” Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the armed services seapower subcommittee, told sy88pgw.

Budget crunch hits readiness

Lawmakers in both parties have been warning of which cuts to training as well as maintenance have harmed readiness.

The House armed services committee has already scheduled a hearing next month on Navy readiness as well as the “underlying problems associated with the USS Fitzgerald as well as USS John S. McCain.”

“We ask a lot of our men as well as women inside Navy. The time they spend at sea is usually increasing, while their ships age as well as their funding gets cut. These are just the conditions of which can lead to an increase inside kinds of accidents we are witnessing,” armed services chairman Mac Thornberry said in a statement.

A spate of US Navy warship accidents in Asia since January

While Congress has been at the heart of the budget problems for the military — the Pentagon has been repeatedly caught inside middle of bigger political fights over taxes as well as spending — both Republicans as well as Democrats want to give the military more money to bolster readiness as well as buy completely new military equipment.

“We can keep disciplining some of these bad officers, we can go as well as change our training manuals, our operational manuals about how to avoid these types of situations, nevertheless at the end of the day we need to have a military of which is usually fed, trained as well as ready to go, as well as we’re not doing of which right at of which point,” said Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Marine veteran. “Everyone is usually trying to live off of which magic dollar of which somehow gets stretched, as well as of which’s just not happening anymore.” 

inside case of the Navy’s fleet, the House has pushed to build more ships than even the Trump administration requested. Navy statistics show of which over the past two decades, the number of deployed ships has remained constant at around 100, while the size of the fleet has decreased by more than 450 ships in 1993 to 276 ships in 2016.

At the same time, the average length of ship deployment has increased by 167 days in 1993 to 207 days last year.

“Because shipbuilding is usually such a long game, we’re definitely actually still paying the cost for (building) four ships a year of which was what was going on inside early 2000s as well as created of which trough in terms of surface ships, submarines all the support vessels of which we’re scrambling to try to catch up with,” Courtney said.

sy88pgw’s Ryan Browne contributed to of which report.

Many warnings of readiness 'crisis' before latest ship accidents

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