The US Navy‘s submarine fleet has begun a “navigation stand-down” following the USS Connecticut‘s collision with an undersea mountain in the South Chin Sea on October 2, 2021.
Word of the stand-down was shared via a joint message from US Submarine Force (SUBFOR) Commander, Vice Admiral William Houston, and Rear Admiral Jeffrey Jablon, head of the Submarine Force Pacific. Due to the classified nature of the information shared in the message, it has not been publicly released.
“Admiral Jablon and I have sent out today a joint message having a navigational stand down,” said Houston at the annual Naval Submarine League conference. “And we will have that and we will go ahead and learn our lessons. The safety investigation board is not complete yet, but we know enough right now.
“As soon as this event happened, we shared it with the operational force, such that they knew what happened. And now we know the details and are sharing that. And that goes back to the critique and oversight process that we have,” he added.
According to officials with SUBFOR, this stand-down will differ from previous ones, as it will not involve the halting of all submarine activity. Instead, all crews have been ordered to review the procedures required for navigation planning, risk management, best practices and operations.
Speaking with Navy Times, SUBFOR spokesman Commander Paul Macapagal said the stand-down is only “near term,” but wouldn’t provide a timeline for its completion.
The incident involving the USS Connecticut resulted in eleven of the submarine’s crew members being injured, with a statement from the Pacific Fleet adding that none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Earlier this month, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the 7th Fleet, relieved Commander Cameron Aljilani, Master Chief Sonar Technician Cory Rodgers and Lieutenant Commander Patrick Cashin of their duties, saying the decision was made “due to a loss of confidence.”
“Thomas determined sound judgement, prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in navigation planning, watch team execution and risk management could have prevented the incident,” a press release at the time read. “Capt. John Witte will assume duties as interim Commanding Officer. Cmdr. Joe Sammur will assume duties as interim Executive Officer. Command Master Chief Paul Walters will assume duties as interim Chief of the Boat.”
The USS Connecticut is currently undergoing repairs in Guam.