Small Wars Journal

The Navy’s McCain Moment

The Navy’s McCain Moment - WSJ Editorial

Ten U.S. sailors are missing after a Navy destroyer collided Monday with a tanker near Singapore. The cause is unknown, but the investigation should go beyond the narrow causes to ask if the collision is further evidence that the military is strained beyond what the force can tolerate.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson on Monday announced a pause in operations around the world. The Navy will investigate the crash of the USS John S. McCain, and also launch a broader review of Navy procedures in the Pacific theater, including training and maintenance. This is warranted given multiple incidents at sea this year.

In June a merchant ship collided with the USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, in Japanese waters. The Navy’s incident report details that the crew manning the helm at night didn’t detect the danger. Seven sailors died, and last week the Navy relieved the ship’s commanding and executive officers, noting “inadequate leadership,” which suggests failure by the crew.

In May the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing boat, and in January the USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay. It’s hard to credit all this merely to bad luck.

Whatever we learn about the McCain incident, one reality is that the Navy has been conducting missions across the oceans with less funding and fewer ships…

Read on.