Navy junior officers lack necessary seamanship skills

Washington Times:
The Navy has identified systemic deficiencies in seamanship skills with many of its junior officers, according to an internal review obtained Wednesday by the Washington Times.

The study comes on the heels of two fatal Naval collisions that claimed the lives of 17 sailors last year — incidents that put the Navy in the spotlight and spurred the review.

In the internal message, written by Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander of Naval Surface Force Pacific, the Navy identified “concerns” with 137 of 164 junior officers randomly tested. Of the 164 first-tour officers subjected to “competency checks,” only 27 passed with “no concerns.”

There were “some concerns” with another 108, while the remaining 29 had “significant concerns” with their seamanship skills.

“So out of 164 what we ended up seeing was kind of what we expected: We got a bell curve distribution. We had 27 who were on top, we had 108 who were in the middle and we had 29 who were kind of at the lower end,” Mr. Brown told Defense News, which first reported the internal survey. “We want to make sure the changes we are making are actually having an impact in the fleet and if we are increasing the level of experience and performance … We want to move that bell curve to the right.”

Specifically, the review found issues with officers’ operation of radar and their ability to apply Naval “rules of the road,” especially during times of low visibility.
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This looks like a training and management problem.  There is no way the Navy or any other branch of the service would allow someone without the necessary skills to pilot an airplane.  The same proficiency should also apply to a naval vessel that is going into harm's way.

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