Today the USS McCain collided a merchant vessel, marking the 4th incident in the past year at the Navy. The timeline is as follows
8/19/2016 — USS Louisiana
5/09/2017 — USS Lake Champlain
6/17/2017 — USS Fitzgerald
8/21/2017 — USS McCain
These ships share similarities, they are all based in Yokosuka Naval Base, and the USS McCain & USS Fitzgerald are both part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and the Seventh Fleet.
While accidents and mistakes do happen, the number of collisions in the past year is extremely rare, and it is now within the realm of possibility that these accidents were not accidents. Both China and Russia have tested their cyber-warfare capabilities at sea with success.
Is China testing their capabilities in case of an escalation on the Korean Peninsula? Was this a dry-run?
Source: RealClearDefense via Medium
Analysis: This is an interesting thought exercise if nothing else because it is entirely within the realm of possibility.
Without question, the number of incidents involving U.S. Navy warships has been uncharacteristically high over the past year. Some could argue the Navy’s increased operational tempo is to blame, and certainly, the 7th Fleet’s op tempo has been ratcheted up given North Korea’s rising threat, China’s quest to militarize the South China Sea, and so forth. But certainly, the fact that all of these incidents have occurred within the same fleet is noteworthy. And the author’s reminder that China and Russia have recently tested cyber war capabilities at sea is also noteworthy (we covered potential Russian nautical cyber hacking in the Black Sea in the August 18 EXSUM — to subscribe, click here).