I do not know anyone that has worked with the Navy who doubts their technical expertise/acumen or their strive for excellence. I have 0% doubt that the navy can conduct accurate proficiency assessments. But should they??
I am on the board of directors for a maritime security firm and our director of operations is a retired SEAL. What shocked him most about these incidents is the lack of third party involvement.
According to him the SEALS have a steady flow of third party trainers, weapons experts, leadership experts, teamword experts, instructors, consultants, etc.
Does anyone doubt the SEALs ability to conduct a mission? Or asses their own people? No! They are the best in the world at what they do and, in many cases, are more competent than the 3rd party assesors they hire. So why hire them at all?? Because that is how you root out flaws in the system. That is how you improve the culture.
This is why I have come to believe (as does the Secretary of the Navy who has hired Crowley and BP to look at the problem) that the navy needs to work on improving relations with the US Merchant Marine. We are can do people with deep rooted patriotism. One call from the CNO and I will personally get a dozen top Masters to join the assesment teams for free. I would personally drop everything for a few months and not bill the navy $1.
Why would I personally work for free? Because I would learn so very much. By assesing the best navy in the world I would become a better mariner myself and being better at your job always pays in the long run.
But if the Navy insists on being insular and doing everything in house then put a SEAL and Submariner and an MSC master on the assesment teams.
Because this is not a competancy problem, the US Navy was the best Navy in the worls before these incidents and they remain so today, it is a cultural one. And you can’t fix culture from the inside. You fix it by looking at the problem from different perspectives… even if, as the SEALS have learned, those perspectives are less technically competant than those you already have in house.
And, as I already said, don’t take my word for it, just listen to what the Secnav said. The Navy is subordinate to the civilian leadership of this country and that leadership has told congress in clear that third party assessment conducted by Merchant Mariners is the way forward.