Troubled Waters: The Crisis of the US Surface Navy


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Former Navy officer, Thibaut Delloue, has seen firsthand the problems that have plagued the US surface Navy for years. His book, The Wardroom, begins as a memoir. However, it turns into a straightforward assessment of issues that have led to several high-profile accidents, which included the collisions of the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald. Both warships crashed in 2017 and resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors.

We discuss Thibaut’s experience as a surface warfare officer (SWO) to include his training and lack thereof. Thibaut served on the destroyer USS Carney. His experience included tracking Russian submarines and battling ISIS in Libya.

Topics of discussion also include:

  • An overview of the surface Navy and the areas of operations known as “fleets”
  • How a Navy officer becomes a SWO
  • Why the current training and readiness pipeline is insufficient
  • The inability of the surface Navy to be ready for future wars unless changes are made
  • The leadership and command climate within the surface Navy that prioritizes bureaucracy over real leadership
  • The recent spate of high-profile accidents and the many causes that led to them
  • The difference between the US surface Navy and other Navies including the Chinese Navy

Thibaut has written about the military for publications like Task & Purpose, the US Naval Institute, War on the Rocks, and The War Horse. He now works in education in Nashville, Tennessee.

Check out his website to see more of his writings and background:

His book can be found on Amazon.


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