- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An investigation launched by the Navy following Monday’s collision of the USS John S. McCain will examine whether hackers had a hand in causing either of a couple of recent crashes involving U.S. warships, the chief of Naval operations said afterwards.

Investigators probing both the USS John McCain crash and another incident in June involving the USS Fitzgerald will consider the “possibility of cyber intrusions or sabotage,” Adm. John Richardson tweeted Monday.

There have been “no indications right now” that hackers caused either of the collisions, the admiral tweeted, but a review launched Monday “will consider all possibilities.”

“This is the second collision in three months and is the last in a series of incidents in the Pacific theater,” the admiral said. “This trend demands more forceful action. As such I have directed an operational pause be taken in all of our fleets around the world.

“In addition to that operational pause, I’ve directed a more comprehensive review to ensure that we get at the contributing factors — the root causes — of these incidents,” including the June 17 crash off the coast of Japan that claimed the lives of another seven U.S. sailors, he added.

The review is being led by Adm. Phil Davidson, the head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, and will involve examining “operational tempo, trends in personnel, material, maintenance and equipment,” as well as any potential cyber vulnerabilities, he said.

Five sailors were injured and 10 went missing Monday after the McCain crashed with a Liberian oil tanker east of Singapore. Divers have since recovered “some remains” of the missing sailors, Navy Adm. Scott Swift said Tuesday.

The Fitzgerald and McCain warships are both part of the Navy’s 7th fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan. At least two other 7th fleet ships — the USS Antietam and USS Lake Champlain — have suffered mishaps of their own since the start of 2017. The Antietam ran aground in January and subsequently dumped about 1,000 gallons of oil into the Tokyo Bay, and the Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel in May.

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