Telling Sailors to “say no” rings hollow if leaders won’t accept “no” for an answer. The Navy needs a better system to report manning, training and procedural shortfalls, otherwise significant mishaps will continue. (Photo: The USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) being transported on the heavy lift ship M/V Treasure from Singapore to Japan for repairs after its deadly collision in 2017.)
Much has been written in the year since the USS John. S. McCain (DDG-56) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collisions. A common theme revolves around the need for Navy leaders to “just say no” when they feel unable to execute tasking, whether because of manning shortages, technical issues, fatigue, training, or maintenance shortfalls. The recent conviction at court-martial of a chief petty officer from the John S. McCain for dereliction of duty is a perfect example of why this “just say no” conversation is meaningless unless backed up by action from Navy leaders.