If anyone tries to tell you they were a flawless commanding officer, don’t believe them. Most everyone who has served in command was more or less competent, but none of us were as good as we like to remember ourselves being. Yes, commanding officers, with near total authority on board a ship at sea, are imperfect human beings.
Recognizing this, the surface navy is instituting the nuclear and aviation communities’ concept of forceful backup. The idea is that junior personnel are expected to speak up when they see something going wrong. Recent decades have provided plentiful examples—from groundings in Hawaii to collisions in the Persian Gulf—when someone on the ship knew the right answer, knew the ship was headed for disaster, yet either did not get the word to or did not convince the captain to change course.