It’s hard enough for the public to garner information on the performance of complex subsystems, but now the Navy is clamping down on reports from the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV reports)? So what does the Navy want? Is there a security issue here or do some people in the Navy don’t want to be bothered?

Or does the Navy want more wild rumors floating around out there? Because, with this sort of phony-baloney maneuver, that’s what the Navy is going to get.

Phil Ewing from Navy Times breaks the news:

In December, InSurv president Rear Adm. Raymond Klein decided the reports were to be classified, said Linda Alvers, the FOIA coordinator for Fleet Forces Command. She said she did not know why. Also unclear was whether the classification order applied only to InSurvs performed after December, or whether it included reports from before then.

INSURVs are one of the few remaining tools the public (and independent evaluators) can use to “evaluate” their Navy. INSURVs (along with a few other things) help keep everybody honest. They’re unbiased, frank, and inform both policymakers AND the public.

And now it is all gone. Just in time for the USS Bush (CVN-77) INSURV, too. Go figure.

The route to a better Navy is not found by painting the smiley face bigger. Or by clapping louder. Honesty, honor and willingness to take a frank evaluation are the only ways to improve the Navy.

If that’s too hard, or you’re a star and have trouble digesting my sentiment, then get out of my service. Find employment at a next-gen Enron or something. It’ll pay better.

If this disgusts you, I invite you to call Congress.


Posted by Defense Springboard in Navy, Policy

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  • Byron

    Probably because they’re embarassed enough as it is with the crappy INSURVS like the LPD-17. Wonder if it was done just in time to spike LCS-1s INSURV?

    Stupid move, Big Navy. You want the public engaged, not enraged. You want to win the PR battle when it comes time to go to the mat with Congress, those ever-running-for-reelection power brokers.

    VADM Harvey, if you’re not under the gag order (and that’s whats going on right now), we’d like to hear your thoughts on this. And if you can’t, I understand and respect your silence.

  • I’d like to hear from Rear Admiral Raymond Klein.

    Why are we doing this? Admiral? Talk to us! Please, give us something–anything–to make us taxpayers feel better about your directive.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You can be certain that such an initiative to classify this information did not originate with RADM Klein, or likely anyone else in uniform. This was very likely a directive from civilian leadership, possibly even above SECNAV. CJCS message of the other day was not his idea, either.

  • doc75

    Won’t this make correcting INSURV deficiencies unnecessarily difficult? “OK, all you shipyard workers. We’re going into the SCIF to tell you what you’re doing today.” Close the door. “You’re going to repair this pipe weld. That’s classified. Don’t tell anyone.” Just plain dumb. This reminds me of that beach scene in the movie “Airplane.”

  • Byron

    Since the speed of the rumor pipeline at the waterfront at Mayport sometimes exceeds the speed of sound, I expect this is about as dumb as a football bat. Good luck, instead of telling the truth, you’ll subsitute half-truths and rumors, and then play eternal catch up that’ll make you look even dumber.

    Wonder if this has anything to do with the recent rumors that some scheduled repair availabilities are now on hold. If Big Navy (those fine people that reside in DC) decides to bet the house on the new construction projects and does the “go it on the cheap” thing with the existing fleet they are gonna screw themselves right into the wall. I’ve seen 2 years now of scraping and not doing stuff today because of funds and “defering” them to a later date when it will cost twice as much (if they are lucky).


  • Bill

    Understandable if one recalls the “CYA” syndrome. If you all can’t read them, we all may not get into trouble with the God-Awful Mess that seems to be about the newest ships.
    Certainly ill advised. I’d like to think better of contemporary naval leaders.

  • Eric

    Maybe they are just following orders? After all our new President, who promised greater transparency, is requiring DoD employees to sign a NDA for the first time regarding the budget proposal.

  • Bill

    Eric– The word I have is that the NDA affair is directed by the SECDEF. Perhaps it was needed beause of the potential of so much blood on the deck.

  • Michael DeKort

    This will mean the public has almost no way to find out if there are any performance and testing issues with ships it inspects. Remember the Coast Guard uses the Navy INSURV process to test, inspect and accept their ships now. Will this mean we will not know if there are any NSC issues including TEMPEST?

    I think the Navy is doing this because they know some really big problems are about to see the light of day. Didn’t President Obama just dictate that the government will be more transparent?

    This could be a very bad precedent for all of DoD that could involve every asset made and already in there inventory.

  • Just remember that this went into effect in December.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    I caution that because an event happened before an inauguration does not necessarily mean it was not influenced, heavily, by the incoming administration.

  • leesea

    doc75 is right and that is just a small part of the story. Deficiencies aka cards are reviewed immediately after the trials report is transmitted. The Navy, shipbuilder and SUPSHIP have to decide who is resonsible to correct each card. How in the world will all those parties get to agree on a COA when the details are NOT known? Those costs have to be collected and sent forward for action. The process will come to a grindling halt is all is classified.

    Of course, there is a portion of the trials report which is classified and dealt with in a properly secure manner.

    Will the congressional staffs eventually get the INSURV reports so they can see what condition the Navy is in?

    This stupid decision by a myoptic naval organization. BUT I suspect the order came from on high?

  • Rick Perez

    This could be the beginning of an overall clamp down on information regarding the state of readiness. Remember the hollow force reports? Once they really started coming in people began to get alarmed. Now if you classify that information then no one knows how bad our readiness can get. Standby for the “fiscally austere environment”

  • sid

    As outright embarrasing as the reports have been, I’m not surprised this information strangle in underway.

    Will the congressional staffs eventually get the INSURV reports so they can see what condition the Navy is in?

    I found it outright shocking last year when Roscoe Bartlett said in House hearings on USN shipbuilding, “I feel like I’ve been had…”

    So how fully will Congress …and us folks who pay the bills… be aware of the state of USN shipbuilding and readiness now?

  • This is bad. Very bad. Combined with the order to shut up – this just throws more smoke in the eyes of the taxpayer. It prevents a wide discussion of the challenges we face.

    This is a question that should be asked at every Admiral’s call & CNO Call.

    “Sir, why have we classified INSURV reports when there has never been a need in the past top do so? Doesn’t this smell of trying to hiding bad news? What is classified in INSURVs that warrant this unprecedented action?”

    If I was a Congressman, I would not be pleased. Oh, I would recommend that everyone not try to lessen this topic by trying to smear it with politics. This is an All Navy Challenge – and is part of a greater closing of the mind that has been apace for awhile.

  • And it’s not like these things just cause trouble. INSURVs do highlight the good, too.

    And in an environment where good will be hard to come by, identifying the folks who can get it done is, in my mind, pretty valuable.

  • Bill

    We’ve all agreed that this is an UNSAT situation. Now we must somehow convince those in top leadership to maneuver the situation towards correction in A BIG HURRY.

    During the long time since I hung up my navy suit I’ve learned that such events smell much worse after a few month’s festering in a dark closet.
    If ever was there be a time when everything should be 100% “Ivory Pure” this is it for the military services, Navy especially. Navy needs some friends. Please, get this fixed.

  • Curtis

    Let’s say we’re not all in agreement on this topic. I was amazed to find these things in the message traffic as unclassified messages starting back around 2000. When I joined the navy anything that reflected on a combatant ship’s ability to wage combat was classified. That included the location of the ships and their future locations. I got SECRET Mail Handling messages from ships chopping into MIDEASTFOR based purely on their schedule. The status of any ship’s weapon systems was always classified. All CASREPS were, at a minimum, CONFIDENTIAL. To see a multipage message detailing all of the deficiencies and discrepancies of a ship in an unclassified message was disconcerting. Something had changed when I took my eye off the big navy.

    One thing might have been a revision to the maintenance campaign. My first 4 ships only had an average of about 60 CASREPS per year, most of them C2 and most of them CASCOR within 2 weeks. Some lingered and got the appropriate attention from the ISIC wanting to know what the POAM was to fix the problem. You know, somebody was prepared to apply the torch to NAVICP to ship the critical part or to the cognizant SYSCOM to fix the problem. 99% were corrected by ship’s force on deployment or by MOTU tech reps sent to the ships overseas.

    How does that work today? My last interactive experience with USN ship’s companies was as a part timer for NAVCENT and the mine battleforce in ’96 and their attitude was for COMSERVFOR6THFLT SRU Naples Det Bahrain to fix it or for the Port Engineer to fix it or for a DSRA to fix it. Ship’s company refused any responsibility for effecting repairs to any ship’s systems except maybe the ice machines on the mess deck.

    If the navy has anything to be embarrassed about it is that it pays SUPSHIPS and NAVSEA personnel who accept ships from the builder half built and that it has lost the ability to train sailors to fix simple electrical and mechanical problems that any sailor 20 or 30 years ago was expected to deal with.

    Anybody know just why the fuck we don’t have INSURV board and inspect pre-comm ships, write up the deficiencies and hold the shipbuilder liable to fix every single one before we make the final milestone payment?

  • Byron

    Curtiss, I’m right there with you. If it were me, they’d be in irons or fix the problem on their own damn dime, and pay severe penalties for D and D. I’m amazed at the loss of skill sets in today’s Navy, at least aboard ship. They can read gauges, read monitors, go on-line one at a time to get their personalized PODs (ISYN) instead of standing tall at quarters and getting yelled at by the Chief. Have I ever seen ships force in the bilge? Not very damn often, and NEVER doing preservation. That’s all done where the Admiral and the Commodore walks around. The part that lets water in? Nah, no way man, get the yardbirds to crawl around in that mess.

    I found a pinhole in the shell, aft of SSDG#4 in Aux3. Got everyone notified, and just happened to be on the ship the next day to hear the CO say that it wasn’t a leak, it was sweat. I got the AUXO down there, took a chipping hammer and swatted the hole one time. Now it’s a nice tight little jet of water, five feet below the waterline. Told the AUXO that he might want to let the CO know his ship was sweating like hell.

    Two days later, we put an insert in the damaged area. It’s what we do…a lot.

  • But…the business school guys tell us maintenance isn’t a core Navy mission! (*written on the run, so Byron won’t reach through the intertubes and strangle me*)

    (BTW, Curtis, great comments.)

  • Dear God, Please, please, would you resurrect Earnest King and give him his old job back? I’d gladly work for the old SOB – at least he knew how to run a Navy.

  • Byron

    GRRRR…you get near me, I’m gonna take your business school and core mission and shove it up your CHT overboard discharge line.

  • NukePower

    I believe that Big Navy maybe a little embarrassed with the INSURV results; especially with CVN’s, and their new class of LPD’s.

    This is a bad move. The Navy is continues for fight for its place in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, we need to be as transparent as possible so that we can justify the dollars that we are asking for.

    As Byron put it, we need to engage the public vice enraging them.