The military’s top enlisted leaders on Monday denied the services are in readiness crisis despite warnings from members of Congress and a string of deadly, high-profile aviation and naval mishaps this year.
“From my perspective, from a joint perspective, I don’t think we’re in crisis right now,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, who is the senior enlisted adviser the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Troxell and leaders of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps told reporters at the Pentagon that the services are investigating training incidents that have injured and killed dozens of troops in an effort to improve safety, but said they view them as part of the risks for a military deployed around the globe.
“We ask our sailors to operate across the globe on a number of different platforms and sometimes tragedy happens and that is an unfortunate inherent nature of our business,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano said. “But our sailors need to have trust and confidence in their leaders that we’ll learn from these things.”
In the latest mishap, a Navy C-2 Greyhound crashed last week into the Philippine Sea after an engine failure, killing three sailors. Two Navy ship collisions over the summer killed 17 sailors and triggered congressional hearings, and two Marine Corps aviation crashes killed 18 troops.
The House and Senate armed services committees say the services are in the midst of a dangerous crisis caused by years of war and budget instability, and that it is driving an uptick in mishaps.
“The military readiness crisis has impacted every service — from ship collisions, aircraft crashes, and vehicle accidents to personnel shortages in critical roles like aviation and cybersecurity,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Armed Services chairman, said at a hearing this month.
McCain and Rep. Mac Thornberry pushed a $700 billion defense policy bill with a hike in military spending through Congress this month because they said it “will help reverse the dangerous readiness crisis that is endangering the lives of our men and women in uniform.”
The must-pass annual bill is awaiting President Trump’s signature.
Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green said his service is concerned about the availability of spare equipment parts and getting an annual budget, but not a readiness crisis.
“I’ve been in 34 years, every day there is a crisis in something but you walk out and ask the average Marine ‘Are we in a crisis?’ I don’t think they are going to tell you we are in a crisis,” Green said.
and challenges, Sgt. Maj of the Army Daniel Dailey told a reporter who questioned him.
“The first time I ever heard that word is when you said it and I saw it on the news,” Dailey told the reporter. “I haven’t had a single soldier tell me in three, four years that we are in crisis.”