It would be one thing if this seizure was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t. Consider that last month, Iranian boats fired rockets that landed 1,500 yards from USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75). They gave less than half an hour of notice. Had those rockets hit the Truman, the United States would have been short a carrier, even as those in reserve are headed to the scrapyard. One of those old carriers could have held the line had the Truman been damaged. That sort of contingency is why you keep ships in mothballs, particularly when new ones take as many as seven years to build.
A number of former Marines who now serve in Congress have been calling Mabus out over his almost obsessive push to socially engineer the 240-year old military force. Mabus’s edicts include ordering the Marines to integrate boot camps, and to re-name various combat positions, like rifleman and mortarman. Those orders were given to General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, less than a week after the Truman’s close call, in a memo that was on the verge of bullying.
Now, I have not served as a Secretary of the Navy. I haven’t even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. That being said, I cannot fathom why a person who is responsible for the Department of the Navy would view a social engineering project to be more important than finding out how – and why – Iranian forces were allowed to fire rockets that landed within a mile of one of the Navy’s most important assets.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has a choice to make: Is the combat readiness of our troops more important, or is the social engineering more important? If the former is more important, Mabus will be shown the door. If the latter is more important, we’ll see Mabus stick around.