Monday, February 9, 2015

Taylor Grounding

Navy Times has obtained a copy of the Navy's report on the grounding of the frigate Taylor in February of 2014 while providing security for the winter Olympics (1).  Follow the link to read the details.  I won't bother repeating them.  Suffice it to say that the report is a case study of how not to navigate and what's wrong with the Navy.

ComNavOps harps on the need for, and lack of, tactical training but an even greater need is basic seamanship training at all levels of the ship's crew.  This was a woefully undertrained and ill-prepared crew and command.  We might be tempted to dismiss this as a one-time freak occurrence if the exact same thing had not happened to the Port Royal, an MCM vessel, and others.  There is an obvious and systemic lack of fundamental seamanship in the Navy.

The report also highlights equipment failure.  ComNavOps has repeatedly pointed out the lack of maintenance that is rampant in the fleet and which the Navy is ignoring.  We have a hollow fleet with respect to equipment readiness and yet the Navy continues to procure new ships while allowing the existing ones to rot.  For all the lip service that is paid to maintenance, there is no evidence that any progress is being made.  We continue to send ships to sea with malfunctioning equipment.

Finally, the report indicates an overdependence on GPS.  Again, ComNavOps has repeatedly stated that the Navy must wean itself off its addiction to GPS and routinely train in high jamming, GPS-less, ECM environments.

If we get into a serious war and lose our GPS, the entire fleet will be grounded within a day!

This is what happens when leadership is focused on new construction rather than maintenance, training, and readiness.

(1) Navy Times, "Report: Sloppy navigation caused 2014 frigate grounding", David Larter, 8-Feb-2015,


  1. Nothing about the minor detail that we had a warship that did not have a functional radar?

    1. I pointed out and discussed equipment failure, if that's what you're getting at?

    2. Yes. But having a warship without a functioning radar is something i woudl worry about just as much as the fact that they ran aground. Nothing in the CIC is overly functional without a working radar.

      I guess i was expected more a "Holy MOLY the radar was not working too!"

  2. Have you seen this yet? Pretty cool.

    "A January 2015 Naval Air Systems Command test of a Tomahawk Block IV guided by a F/A-18 into a moving ship target."

  3. ... while providing security for the Winter Olympics? Hilarious

  4. When at the end of 1980's we got to a 594 ship fleet with more carriers, more submarines, more of pretty much everything the ships were much better maintained than today. Further from 2001 through 2012 we have spent more money on procurement in inflation adjusted dollars than was spent from 1981 through 1992.. Note:I am only looking at the money spent on research and development and new procurement that does not include procurement necessary to supply the gulf wars.

    During this period the Navy shrunk and average readiness decreased.

    Ships like the CGX (never built) the Zumwalt and the LCS sucked up huge sums of money, providing little bang for the buck. We retired and then destroyed very competent powerful, recently modernized warships like the Spruances in order to eliminate any competition for new ship construction.

    So a big part of the general decline in U.S. military power, including purposely deferring maintenance in order to buy new ships, is the result of military procurement process has become far too vendercentric. A process in which future employees of defense contractors are supposed to hold their future employers accountable.

    Until the walls between the military and defense contractors are reestablished we are going continue to have a system optimized to protect defense vendor revenues and to protect those revenues from risk.

    When you look at how money is spent through the venderecentric paradigm actions that do not seem to make sense, suddenly make sense. Sadly, the kind of sense that is made does not yield the best possible possible mix of quantity and quality of equipment for our sailors, soldiers and airmen.


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