Blumenthal wants Navy to appoint flag officer to implement accident recommendations

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and two of his colleagues, are urging the Navy to appoint an admiral to implement the findings of a recent comprehensive review of a string of Navy collisions in the Pacific, and provide quarterly updates to Congress.

The review, released by the Navy this month, sought to identify systemic factors that contributed to a rash of accidents earlier this year, two of them deadly, involving Navy surface ships assigned to the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan. The collisions were avoidable, the review found.

It identified a number of recommendations, such as improving seamanship training, but did not provide an implementation timeline or designated official responsible for implementation, the senators, which include Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., pointed out.

"To balance the urgent need for enhanced safety and skills training with the need to maintain the unrelenting operational tempo necessary to effectively execute missions, we must have a dedicated team overseeing implementation efforts," the senators wrote in a letter addressed Nov. 13 to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

The senators are members of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, which has oversight of Navy and Marine Corps programs.

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