Thursday, July 11, 2013

If You Can't Fix It, ...

This one almost got by me.  You recall that the Navy’s response to the recent rash of INSURV failures was to classify the results.  If you can’t fix the problem, hide the results, I guess.  Well, apparently the Navy has gone even further and eliminated the pass/fail aspect of the inspection.  Now, every ship passes and the inspection is just an advisory assessment.  Here it is from an interview with Adm. Tom Copeman, commander of Naval Surface Forces (1).

Q. The new INSURV lacks a pass-fail grade. In cases where ships have real problems, aren’t you concerned that the new INSURV isn’t calling a spade a spade?

A. I’m not exactly sure of the exact origin of the pass-fail. INSURV’s function is to determine whether ships are fit for further service or not. We do keep metrics, we do compare ships. We tell them how they do against the class, and they understand how they do against other ships of their class in each of the mission areas. So we’re not hiding anything.

Not hiding anything!?!??  You’ve classified the results and eliminated the pass/fail.  I don’t think you can possibly hide the problem any more than that!  If you can’t fix the problem, classify it and remove the pass/fail.  You can’t have a problem if there’s no more failure!  Every time I think the Navy’s honesty and integrity have reached rock bottom, they dig a trench so that the bar can be set even lower.

As disappointed as I am by the Navy’s actions, I’m more disappointed by Adm. Copeman’s response and tacit approval of this sham.  I had high hopes for Copeman.  As a reminder, he’s the one who wrote the article criticizing the LCS and suggesting a host of good improvements for the surface force, in general.  To buy-in to this blatant PR and feel-good exercise is a poor reflection on him, personally.


  1. This is sad.

    INSURV was supposed to report on the material condition of ships as an accountability measure.

    COs should not automatically get hammered for failing an INSURV for things beyond their control (example under water hull corrosion), but the data is critical to oversight agencies.


  2. Good point, no one should get canned for what they can't control. But inspections are a time honored way to kick the rocks and see what crawls out from under them.

    After about 3 years under this new system, would you be comfortable with your kids serving on ships headed into combat? Or more precisely having combat thrust upon them with no time to refit and repair? This should be the acid test for all people involved in designing, building, and maintaining our Fleet.

  3. INSURV is just another game for the Navy. Suddenly money appears and parts show up to make it look like the Navy is maintaining a combat-ready fleet. Funny how the Navy doesn't mention the practice of cannibalization and diverting support from other ships when they aren't under the spotlight of INSURV or on the verge of deploying.


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