Navy’s ‘Operational Pause’ Comes at Worst Time

Navy’s ‘Operational Pause’ Comes at Worst Time
Following the collision of the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain with a commercial oil tanker, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered Monday an "operational pause" for all U.S. naval vessels to assess their safety procedures.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered a 24- to 48-hour "operational pause" for every U.S. Navy ship while also ordering an full-scale investigation to determine the root cause of two major breeches of safe seamanship in as many months.

Richardson’s statement read:

I want our fleet commanders to get together with their leaders and their commands to make sure that we're taking all appropriate immediate actions to safe and effective operations around the world.

We will examine the process by which we train and certify our forces that are forward-deployed in Japan to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make them ready for operations and warfighting. This will include but not be limited to looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment. It will also include a review of how we train and certify our surface warfare community including tactical and navigational proficiency.

We need to get to the bottom of this. So let's get to it.

Richardson later added on his official social media accounts:

Our primary concern at this point is the safety of the crew and ship—that is the focus of our efforts at the scene. We will continue to provide updates as events unfold and we learn more. I am also directing a comprehensive review into all potential factors contributing to these incidents.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is engaged in biennial war games that have stoked tensions with North Korea, while China continues to challenge freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and Russia is ramping up its aggressive stance towards NATO. Richardson addressed concerns, saying there is no evidence that North Korea, China, or Russia had been involved in cyber warfare or sabotage, but the review he ordered will address “all possibilities.”


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