The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (InSurv) process recently was simplified, but the change will do more harm than good. An InSurv ship inspection ostensibly accomplishes two objectives. First, since 1882, it has used a standard and comprehensive data-collection and inspection process to inform Congress whether its investments in Navy ships were a wise use of taxpayer money. Second, it informs Navy type commanders of systemic material and programmatic issues throughout the fleet. With this data, type commanders can reassign funding or alter policy to address system flaws that may be common across platform type. In 2019, the InSurv inspection process was significantly streamlined in an effort to be less onerous for ship crews, while supporting a higher frequency of inspection. Unfortunately, this change has generated a declining trend in material readiness in the surface navy, with nine functional areas of the 36 ships inspected in 2019 evaluated as “degraded”—an increase from eight in 2018.1
1. U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey, INSURV Annual Report, 1 March 2020, www.insurv.usff.navy.mil/Portals/41/Annual%20Reports/2019%20Annual%20Report_Releasable_FINAL(1).pdf?ver=2020-07-02-142122-673.