The US Navy in Distress

Seth Cropsey is Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, Washington, DC. He served as Naval Officer from 1985 to 2004 and as deputy senior under secretary of the Navy in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush.
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  • January 2010

    In February 2009, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Port Royal ran aground about a half mile south of the Honolulu airport. The Navy's investigation found that the ship's navigational gear was broken and that the ship's fathometer wasn't functioning. In simple terms the bridge didn't know where the ship was. The investigation subsequently discovered that the commanding officer was exhausted, sleep-deprived, and that sailors who were nominally assigned to stand watch against such incidents were assigned elsewhere in the ship to cover manning shortages. Two months later the Navy's iron-willed Board of Inspection and Survey determined that problems with corrosion, steering, surface ships' firefighting systems, and anchoring were widespread throughout the Navy.