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.