- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2022

The Navy admits it has been forced to learn some hard safety lessons the hard way over the past few years, with incidents such as August 2017 when the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker, causing the death of 10 sailors, and the suspicious fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020 that took four days to extinguish and resulted in the ship being scrapped.

As recently as last month, a $100 million F-35 fighter jet crashed while attempting to land aboard the USS Carl Vinson and plunged into the South China Sea.

Last week, Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations unveiled the upgraded Norfolk-based Naval Safety Command to find ways to prevent deadly and expensive mishaps in the future.

The center, which will be led by an admiral, is part of Adm. Gilday’s call for the troubled service to “Get Real, Get Better,” which seeks to “reduce the gap between the Navy’s least and most capable performer” by building teams ready to solve problems more effectively, Navy officials said.

The office had been known as the Naval Safety Center for 70 years before it was decided to elevate it to an admiral command following the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Establishing the command will result in increased warfighting readiness, Adm. Gilday said.

“Almost no aspect of naval operations can be separated from risk, but risk can be reduced,” he said.

The Naval Safety Command (NAVSAFECOM) will have the authority to assess the service’s safety culture at all levels, from individual commands to the fleet level. Adm. F.R. Luchtman, the founding commander, said he wants the agency to improve understanding of safety’s importance and relevance to the service.

“The Naval Safety Command will serve as a force multiplier of a just culture that incorporates risk management and accountability to all individuals, regardless of rank and position,” Adm. Luchtman said. “We will empower our sailors, Marines and civilians by collecting their insights to bolster our safety culture.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide

Sponsored Stories