How the Navy’s current high operational tempo affects the near- and long-term health of ships and sailors is the subject of many speeches and studies. All of these issues are undoubtedly challenges in the face of sustained naval operations, but one significant factor lies quietly below surface: the ability to effectively fight in combat, suffer setbacks, and overcome them to win.
With the long list of training, operational, and administrative requirements and only a limited time to achieve them before the deploying, unit schedules are always full. And that does not account for the surprises, such as driving-under-the-influence arrests and broken equipment, which compress the schedules further.
Even with the transition to the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, schedules are so tight that a single failure of the predetermined time line leads to cascading catastrophic fleet-scheduling consequences across the world. Ships get extended on station; overhauls are shortened and diluted; and diminished quality of life hits our sailors. Essentially, a scenario has developed where the schedule is “too tight to fail.”