Wednesday, April 10, 2019

You WILL Comply

Navy aircraft readiness has been abysmal for some time now.  Here’s some data as presented in a USNI News article. (1)

Mission Capable Rate


What we see is a slow, steady drop in readiness rates for the Growler and single seat Hornet and a steady rate for two seat Hornet.  In all cases, the readiness rates are very low. 

Well, not to worry.  In September of last year, just under 6 months ago, then Secretary of Defense Mattis issued a memo instructing the Navy to achieve an 80% readiness rate by the end of 2019. (2) 

Now, less than 6 months later, Rear Adm. Scott Conn, the Navy’s director of air warfare, just informed the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee that Super Hornet readiness is 63%-76%. (1)  

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s stunning.

The Navy struggled with readiness for the last several years and was unable to effect any improvement (in fact, readiness was trending down, if anything) but a single memo from SecDef Mattis caused readiness to jump from less than 50% to as high as 76% in less than 6 months when several years of effort were unable to move the needle.  Wow, again!!!! 

If all it took was a memo, why didn’t anyone think to write one several years ago?  That is one powerful, near magical memo, isn’t it?

Years of maintenance manpower shortages, higher than expected corrosion and problems, chronic spare parts shortages, depot backlogs, funding shortages, etc., all cured in less than 6 months by a single memo.  In fact, allowing some time for the memo to be disseminated, digested, understood, and responses formulated, the actual improvement time was more like 5 months or less.  All of those problems solved in 5 months!

Before you all order your celebratory cake, let me pose one question:  do you think there’s even the slightest chance that nothing has changed except how readiness is reported?  Do you think readiness is unchanged and we’re just pencil-whipping and gun-decking the readiness reports?  Before you answer, consider all the Navy fraudulent statements and practices (lapsed certifications, acceptance trial waivers, fraudulent shock trial success claims, and hundreds of other examples) that we’ve exposed on this blog alone.  Now, let me repeat the question … Do you really think readiness surged that much in 5 months or less or is it unchanged and the Navy is just pencil-whipping the readiness reports?

Still unsure?  Well, consider who the Navy turned to for help:  the commercial airlines.

The Navy received help from logistics specialists from airlines, including Southwest, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said at an event last year. (1)

The airlines.  The people who, in order to claim on-time departures, routinely disengage a loaded plane from the boarding ramp and then let it sit for extended periods until it can actually take off.  It’s a fraudulent, disingenuous practice that covers up routine failure. (3)

The airlines.  The people who chronically falsify maintenance reports. (4)

What do you think these airline consultants taught the Navy?  Do you think it’s more likely that they taught the Navy how to improve maintenance or how to improve reporting practices?

I guess when the Secretary of Defense orders you to achieve miraculous improvements in readiness rates in very little time, you’re probably going to start bending and twisting the reporting in order to comply and save your job.

Well done, Navy.

Now, how many of those supposedly ready aircraft are actually ready?  I’m guessing it’s the same 50% or less that it was just 5 short months ago.


(1)USNI News website, “Navy Fighter Readiness Nearing 80 Percent Mission Capable Target”, Ben Werner, 5-Apr-2019,

(2)USNI News website, “SECDEF Mattis Wants 80 Percent of Super Hornets Mission Capable by Next Year”, Sam LaGrone, 9-Oct-2018,

(3)Smarter Travel website, “The Truth About Deceptive Airline Practices”, Tim Winship, 26-Jun-2008,

(4)Orlando Sentinel website, “FAA INSPECTOR: WORKERS SAID FALSIFYING RECORDS IS COMMON”, Roger Roy, 10-Jun-1997,


  1. Alternative Best case scenario: this was a surge. The planes really were honestly brought up, but now they've exhausted the spares and broke all the tools and ran the maintainers ragged. It won't last long and numbers will crash again.

    1. On the other hand; if they cooked the books to comply with the Matthis memo, how badly cooked were the books BEFORE the memo?

      I'm betting some of those "mission capable" planes were barely fit to fight before the memo dropped.

      Real world; I doubt we have more then 10% planes with zero defects/write-ups.

  2. "The map is not the territory",Alfred Korzybski
    "Scribbling on the map does not change the territory"

    Audit the Navy, of course if results were published
    the PLAN would invade Taiwan the next day.


  3. Only real change has been one year of budget certainty. I am sure it helped, but no way that much. Last I read 1/3 of super hornet sorties was humping fuel. That chronic stupidity just doesn't get fixed in one memo.

    1. Also, as of a few years ago Super Hornets fresh off the line were being completely worn out on their maiden voyages because they were the only reliable airframes. One deployment and then straight back to the depot....

  4. Southwest? Didn't they have a corruption case where they were paying off FAA inspectors to look the other way? maybe not the best choice to emulate....then again, it's the USN so you go with the pros.

    Im guessing they fudged the numbers and pushed out faster a few birds out to make the numbers look good and then later in the year, when no one is looking anymore, the numbers will go back to "normal"....

  5. Most of the USN aircraft maintenance people are in deep poo because they have no transgender training for the last couple of weeks.
    Something will have to give.

    1. I laughed at that harder than i should have. My last few years in Army Reserves was pc powerpoints every weekend.

  6. Just wondering out loud but how bad does one have to mess up inside USN to be fired? People in civilian world lose their jobs for a lot less, maybe it's time to look inside DoD and set up better guidelines on firing offenses or demotions.

    1. The problem is everyone is doing the same thing so in order to fire them they would have to admit its stupid and means they aren't doing their job.

      I think at this point its a rot that has set in. They will have to go in and just reap the admirals who started this crap.


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