Command Failures Led to Iran’s Seizure of Navy Boats

A Navy investigation into Iran’s Jan. 12 seizure of two riverine patrol boats and 10 sailors found a cascading litany of command failures that resulted in a deterioration of training, material readiness, morale, and adherence to operational procedures while the unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf. It also concluded that some of the sailors did not meet Code of Conduct standards while in custody. As a result, three senior officers responsible for the 3rd Riverine Squadron have been administratively relieved and six unidentified individuals are being considered for possible criminal action. According to the investigation, the two boats left Kuwait for a 250 nautical mile trip to Bahrain four hours late and immediately departed from the assigned course, taking them into Iranian waters near Farsi Island where they were captured. A command center that should have monitored the boats’ progress failed to note the deviation. In a Pentagon briefing, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the 1,000s of sailors serving around the world “clearly know that our actions that day did not live up to our standards for our Navy.” Extensive changes in training and policies have been or are being taken, the CNO said. (Watch the briefing.)