Navy officials will be grilled by Capitol Hill lawmakers Thursday over a string of deadly mishaps at sea.
A joint hearing of the House readiness and seapower subcommittees will be looking into "underlying problems" with readiness associated with the collisions of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain, two months apart over the summer, according to Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., Defense News reported.
A total of 17 sailors died in the two mishaps.
Two prior incidents involving the Japan-based U.S. 7th Fleet included a grounding and oil spill in Tokyo Bay and a collision with a Korean fishing boat, Defense News reported.
Set to testify at the hearing are the U.S. Navy's vice chief of naval operations, Adm. Bill Moran; its director of surface warfare, Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, and the Government Accountability Office's director of defense force structure and readiness issues, John Pendleton, the outlet reported.
"It's just unbelievable the amount of damage to [Fitzgerald] and see what sailors went through on that ship," Wittman told the outlet. "I think it causes all of us to ask some fundamental questions about what is happening within the Navy that allowed these incidents to occur."
"These are the most advanced warships in the world," he added. "They can do some miraculous things with Aegis and missile defense. But one of the most basic elements of our Navy is to be able to safely navigate. And that means not running into things or having things run into you."
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