Fleet Forces Command’s Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents, written in response to the Seventh Fleet mishaps, outlines root causes and corrective actions to prevent future accidents. One theme of the report is that there was a marked lack of training for bridge watch standers on shiphandling and navigation fundamentals. It is tempting for officers outside of Seventh Fleet or the surface warfare community to view the issues in the report as local problems, but many of the issues identified exist Navy-wide, including in the submarine community.
The submarine fleet attempts to attract and maintain the most talented officers through the use of incentive pay, but there is a downside to drawing a submariner’s paycheck: a quality-of-life deficit. If the submarine community is serious about retaining its most talented leaders, it should seek to improve quality of life and tactical readiness for its sailors. In order to do so, the fleet should return its focus to warfighting.