A former U.S. Navy commander, whose own ship was heavily damaged in a 2000 terrorist attack, says the Navy must reevaluate its manpower and mission after another collision killed more sailors.
“There is clearly a systemic problem in the Navy,” observes Kirk Lippold after the USS John S. McCain (pictured at right) collided Monday with an oil tanker near Singapore.
The collision, which killed 10 sailors, marked the third collision in three months following the June 17 incident with the USS Fitzgerald (pictured below) and a container ship off the coast of Japan. The third incident involved the Navy cruiser USS Champlain, which hit a South Korean fishing vessel, Fox News has reported.
Lippold, who commanded the USS Cole that was struck by al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, killing 17 sailors, tells OneNewsNow that the current U.S. Navy fleet is “undermanned, undertrained, and underequipped,” which leads to such incidents.
“When you look at these ships today,” he adds, “many of them can’t even have the lookouts that I used to have because they’re so undermanned in the deck force, on a guided missile cruiser or a guided missile destroyer, where hundreds of lives are at stake and you’re trying to keep an eye out for traffic.”
That observation mirrors a warning from Ralph Peters, a Fox News military analyst, who told the news network that sailors are lacking “basic navigation skills” that occurred during the Obama administration.
An active-duty Naval officer, quoted in the Fox News story, seconded that observation about the lack of training.
A review of the USS Cole bombing found that sailors were guarding the ship on deck with unloaded firearms, and machine guns were left unmanned despite refueling in hostile territory.
The review also found that Lippold was following Pentagon rules, which were changed after the attack.
The Fox News story reports that some military analysts suspect that cyber sabotage played a part in the recent Navy ship collisions.
Chief of Navy Operations Admiral John Richardson has directed an operational pause around the world while a “comprehensive review” is under way.
The admiral stated there is no evidence so far of hacking but said the review will include investigating “cyber intrusion or sabotage.”