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‘Accumulation of errors and omission' led to ‘preventable' submarine Connecticut mishap, US Navy finds

Planning and management miscues led to the October 2021 USS Connecticut mishap, US Navy investigators found. (US Navy)

An investigation report released on 23 May by the US Navy (USN) cites a series of planning and management issues aboard the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) that led to it striking a submerged object in October 2021 in the Pacific.

The report includes recommendations for equipment reviews and changes because of concerns about their operation leading up to the incident, although USN officials note it was the actions or inactions of ship leaders, who have been reprimanded with some being relieved of duty, that led to the mishap.

Indeed, the report noted incidents leading up to the mishap that underscore the weaknesses of key submarine officers.

“No single action or inaction caused this mishap, but it was preventable,” Rear Admiral Christopher Cavanaugh, who led the investigation, wrote in the 29 October 2021 ‘Command Investigation of the Apparent Striking of a Submerged Object by USS Connecticut (SSN 22) While Underway in the US 7th Fleet Area of Operations on 2 October 2021'.

“It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management,” the report said. “Prudent decision-making and adherence to standards in any one of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.”

The investigation also found, “Although the Connecticut CO [commanding officer], XO [executive officer] ,and department heads were fully qualified for their assignments, this was a particularly weak team.”

The Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet, is conducting a separate investigation. Also, the navy is determining the extent of the damage to submarine.

The command investigation findings sounded its own alarms.

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