A Senate hearing Tuesday looking at recent deadly U.S. warship accidents turned the spotlight on how "sleep deprivation" may have played a role in the mishaps.
At the same time, some raised questions about streamlined training as potential contributors to the mishaps. Also, some pinned the blame on the lack of stable funding due to sequestration for some of the training and readiness issues involving the Navy.
"We have a problem in the Navy, and we're going to fix it," testified Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.
At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, Navy officials acknowledged a good chunk of the service's cruiser and destroyer fleet crews deployed overseas are not up to date on warfare certification.
The Navy secretary pledged that in addition to the investigations already underway, the Navy is conducting at least two "thorough reviews," including a probe looking at the tactical and operational issues. A second involves a strategic readiness review by an independent panel to look at "root causes, accountability, long-term systemic issues," he added.
Last month, the USS John S. McCain guided-missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, resulting in the death of 10 sailors. In June, the USS Fitzgerald, another destroyer, collided with a cargo vessel off Japan, an accident claiming seven sailors. Prior to that, there also were two nonfatal mishaps involving Navy vessels.
Some family members of sailors who died in the recent accidents attended the Senate hearing.
On Monday, the Navy said it removed two senior officers in the 7th Fleet after the recent operational incidents.
"We're diving into that deeply," responded Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Richardson if it was true some sailors were putting in 100-hour workweeks on ships. "I will not deny that," said the admiral. "The sailors are working very hard."