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Pacific Fleet's Safety, Readiness Questioned by GAO

Pacific Fleet's Safety, Readiness Questioned by GAO

USS John S. McCain with hole on its portside docked next to USS America in Singapore. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 07 September 2017 12:02 PM

The Navy's Pacific Fleet safety and readiness is being questioned by federal watchdogs, CNN reported on Thursday.

Seventeen sailors have been killed in two recent separate ship collisions and more than one-third of warfare training certificates for Japan-based destroyers and cruisers expired in June, a five-fold increase from two years ago, a Government Accountability Office report said.

The GAO targeted the fleet’s destroyers and cruisers, two kinds of ships involved in the four collisions this year. Each ship requires more than a dozen training certifications, including mobility and seamanship, and warfare capabilities like ballistic missile defense and surface warfare.

The Navy's Pacific Fleet is comprised of roughly 200 ships and submarines, almost 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians responsible for 100 million square miles, the fleet's website said.

Vice chief of Naval operations Adm. Bill Moran, who ordered a review of surface fleet operations after the USS John McCain’s collision on Aug. 20, was scheduled to testify on Thursday before the House armed services committee, CNN said.

The USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain, two guided missile destroyers, collided with other vessels this summer. The Fitzgerald collision on June 17 killed seven sailors and the McCain crash killed 10, The Hill reported.

CNN said military leaders, lawmakers, and the GAO had voiced concern before over the Navy's readiness, due in part to the increased size of the fleet and the constant number of ships deployed, along with the increased length of deployments.

"The Navy has had to shorten, eliminate, or defer training and maintenance periods to support these high deployment rates," John Pendleton, director of the GAO defense capabilities and management, said in GAO written testimony, per CNN.

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said Wednesday that the service will consult with oil company BP North America and other outside firms as part of a readiness review, per The Hill

The Hill said the independent review would gather input from companies that have experienced public disasters, including BP, Boeing, shipping business Crowley Marine, shipping container firm Maersk and Sandia National Laboratories.

"We have reached out to industry who have gone through various different meaningful events and come out the other side," Spencer said at a defense industry conference this week, per The Hill.

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The Navy's Pacific Fleet safety and readiness is being questioned by federal watchdogs, CNN reported on Thursday.
pacific, fleet, safety, readiness, questioned, gao
Thursday, 07 September 2017 12:02 PM
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