Adm. John Harvey is retiring and sent out a retirement letter to the fleet containing a warning for the future of the fleet. The letter is both a scathing indictment of Navy leadership over the last few decades and a recognition of his own culpability. Specifically, he addresses the change in focus by Navy leadership from readiness to cost efficiency and the resulting unintended consequences of sub-optimal manning, maintenance failures, INSURV failures, inability to effect repairs at sea, loss of technical competence throughout the fleet, loss of readiness, etc. I’ll leave it to you to follow the link and read the letter for yourself.
This issue is one of the main reasons I started this blog. I was disgusted by the incompetent leadership of the Navy and the way they were ruining my fleet. Make no mistake, current leadership is every bit as incompetent as previous groups.
While I commend Adm. Harvey for his belated recognition of the problem and applaud his current efforts, I am appalled at his complicity in the creation of this mess and I do not exonerate him one bit as a result of his mea culpa. To be fair, he accepts the personal responsibility in his letter and apologizes for it. Well, too little, too late, Admiral. Where were you for the rest of your career? You were part of the problem.
What really disgusts me is that this problem was not difficult to spot. If I, a civilian with no naval experience, could clearly see the problem, why couldn’t Navy leadership, supposed experts in their chosen profession, see it? That’s just total incompetence and speaks to the badly flawed criteria we use to select our naval leadership.
Sadly, despite Adm. Harvey’s hopeful belief that we’ve turned the corner, I just don’t see it. Instead, I see continued failure to get serious about maintenance and training, on-going parts shortages, a budgetary focus on new construction rather than upgrades and maintenance of existing platforms, acceptance of sub-standard and incomplete ships, attempts to classify LCS, JHSV, and hospital ships as battle force ships so as to maintain the illusion of a growing fleet, and so on. Work, Greenert, and the rest are continuing to lead the Navy down the wrong path and I will continue to point it out. This blog is about naval matters and leadership is the single most important naval matter.