The following is the Dec. 11, 2017 U.S. Strategic Readiness Review released by Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. The study was launched after two fatal collisions in the Western Pacific between warships and merchant ships that killed 17 sailors.
From the Report:
The U.S. Navy is without question the most capable in the world but its primacy is being challenged as it sails into a security environment not seen since before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another era of sustained peer-on-peer competition has arrived and failing to recognize and prepare for its very different challenges will have severe consequences. Even in a non-peer-on-peer environment, the Navy and the nation can ill afford the readiness deficiencies revealed in the recent ship-handling incidents in the Pacific. These deficiencies are of profound consequence. While the shipboard causes that led to those tragic events have been identified, this Strategic Review finds there are institutional deficiencies that have developed over decades that must now be addressed.
Many of these deficiencies have been observed and authoritatively documented for years, however the naval capacity that had been built up for the Cold War masked their impact. That past margin in ships, aircraft, and sailors enabled the Navy to make mitigating adjustments in fleet operations, training, maintenance, and funding to accomplish assigned missions. Today, those margins are long gone. A smaller fleet with fewer sailors is straining to meet the operational demands placed upon it. This Strategic Review examines the long degradation of readiness and recognizes that improvements in readiness will not happen overnight – they will require sustained focus, commitment, and funding. This Strategic Review also recognizes that necessary improvements can only occur with the concerted leadership of the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations and the support of the Secretary of Defense, Congress, and the American public.
The Navy assesses capability and capacity in the context of the number of capital assets, manning and training, equipping and maintaining, command and control, and operations. Those factors that drive readiness are all interrelated in a complex system-of-systems governed by regulations, policies, and processes that play out and act upon each other over time.