Over the summer, two tragedies took the lives of 17 sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG-56). These accidents were preceded by the grounding of the USS Antietam (CG-54) and the collision of the USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) with a South Korean fishing boat.
The root causes of these accidents were mistakes resulting from deviation from established watch standards, direction, practices, and procedures, and we are addressing how our watch teams are planning, practicing, and executing safe navigation practices. That being said, the accidents also brought to light questions the Navy and the surface force must address, particularly regarding the balance between the production and consumption of readiness at the force level. Senior leaders—both civilian and uniformed—have scrutinized the accidents and their causes. As a Navy, we are committed to addressing the specific issues contributing to the collisions, as well as the larger issues at hand.