Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Heads Need To Roll

The Navy routinely relieves commanders for all manner of trivial offenses, none of which are related to warfighting, readiness, tactical competence, maintenance state, or combat aptitude.  Most of these offenses are insignificant and do not warrant relief and yet the Navy almost gleefully pounces on them.  Now, the Navy has the opportunity to relieve some people for warfighting incompetence.  The Iranian seizure of two boats and their crews is a textbook example of how not to execute a mission.  Acknowledging that we do not, yet, know the full story, it is still obvious that a host of basic warfighting, readiness, and combat principles were ignored in the execution of this mission.

A mission starts with proper planning.  The mission is planned, likely alternate outcomes are identified and planned for, unlikely outcomes are identified and planned for, and, finally, impossible outcomes are planned for.  This is basic mission planning 101 and is all the more necessary when operating in proximity to unfriendly countries.

At a minimum, the mission planning should have ensured that secondary sources and methods of navigational awareness existed and were exercised, a plan for dealing with mechanical breakdowns was in place, a plan for dealing with entering Iranian waters inadvertently was in place and well understood, and that sufficient backup was immediately available in the event of unfriendly contact.  Clearly, none of this occurred.

This incident demonstrates clear cut evidence of a serious lack of training and planning.  Every person in this unit's chain of command should be relieved.  None did their duty.  All demonstrated clear cut incompetence.  The Navy is eager to fire commanders for the slightest problem.  Well, here's a serious problem.  Now let's see some heads roll, Navy.   To do less is to sanction and institutionalize incompetence.

14 comments:

  1. Spot on post.

    Let's watch and see if Leadership still exists in the Navy.

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  2. Or they could have learned from the Royal Navy's unpleasant experiences of the same a few years ago and implemented the same set of lessons.

    Nothing wrong with learning lessons from others

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    1. From your perspective, what lessons did the RN learn? Genuinely curious!

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  3. If nothing happens, this will confirm that everyone was just following orders. Everything went as planned, except for the quick release by the Iranians.

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  4. You can read it yourself

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482260/20151120-Report_Redacted-FINAL_Redacted.pdf

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    1. TD, thanks for that link. Wow, what a depressing piece of work. There were no relevant and substantive lessons delineated - just a plethora of administrative, political, and generic training recommendations, none of which would have altered the incident had they been fully implemented at the time of the incident.

      There was no examination of the combat readiness mindset. No recognition of the near criminal failure of the ship (and helo) to support the mission. No recognition of the failure of command to anticipate problems and plan and act accordingly. No acknowledgement of the role that passivity plays in deterrence or the lack thereof. And so on ... Very disappointing but not, I guess, surprising.

      The RN has a tradition of holding its commanders accountable for naval defeats. This was a defeat, albeit on a small scale. Was anyone relieved of command?

      This report will, undoubtedly, be a near duplicate of what the USN eventually puts out about its own incident.

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    2. There was also another report that was not released!

      I expect it was somewhat sterner and as I understand it, careers were affected.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2465118/Iranian-hostage-Royal-Navy-captain-sacked.html

      It was a depressing read and a depressing incident but you need to read between the lines, serious changes were made and although it might be a bit corny, lessons were learned

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    3. "... lessons were learned."

      The question is whether they were the right lessons. The USN routinely learns lessons but rarely the right ones. Instead, they learn lessons about better handling the politics and PR of such incidents rather than substantive warfighting and tactical lessons. I hope better for the RN.

      It's also depressing that the USN quite obviously failed to learn any lessons from the RN's experience.

      Again, thanks for the link!

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  5. I don't think the earnest young Lieutenant created a hostile working environment for his coed/mixed gender crew. Nor was he (please excuse the use of gender normed pronouns} insensitive when counseling his crew. Therefore, his fitness reports should only take a minor hit in the less important section of AVOIDING SURRENDER AND NATIONAL HUMILIATION. Bonus points will be awarded on cyts fitness report for a high level of cultural sensitivity in ensuring sharia compliant bootlicking and groveling on the part of cystself and cyst's crew.

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  6. I do not believe that this was the fault of the junior officers, but it is a serious failure in leadership.

    Right now, we still need all of the details. I firmly believe though that when an organization fails, it is almost always the senior leadership's fault.

    I suppose to its credit, Iran did release the prisoners shortly and unharmed.

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  7. "Right now, we still need all of the details. I firmly believe though that when an organization fails, it is almost always the senior leadership's fault."

    Could not agree more!

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  8. At this point, my most likely scenario is that this whole thing was staged. There is something to be gained o both sides. Obama gets to have an incident where the Iranians behave reasonably and rationally, which gives credence to his argument that the Iranians can be trusted and therefore the nuclear treaty is a good deal. /the Iranians get to kick sand in the western devil's face, which enhances their street credibility in the region. Maybe that's far fetched, but it seems even less likely that so many command principles would have been violated in what is still very much a combat environment.

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  9. I feel for the sailors subjected to this. They may not care now (just glad to have been released), but as they grow older, they will look back on this with a great deal of shame.

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  10. Looks like stupidity was the culprit.

    http://news.usni.org/2016/01/28/u-s-boat-crew-navigation-error-not-technology-tampering-led-to-seizure-of-10-sailors-by-iran

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