Taking a Hard Look at Navy Diving

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By Capt. Fuzz Harrison
Deputy for Diving and Sub Rescue, OPNAV N97

Navy diving operations are an integral part of the Navy and personnel safety is the primary consideration in all Navy diving operations.

As the Deputy for Diving on the Navy Staff, I recently served as the co-lead for the Diving Operations Assessment Integrated Project Team. The purpose of this integrated project team was to conduct a strategic assessment of diving operations throughout the Navy. We accomplished this through a thorough, holistic review of the Navy Diving program, with focus on Fleet compliance with the requirements of the Navy Diving Program, OPNAV Instruction 3150.27B, and the U.S. Navy Diving Manual. Integral to this was a review of our current policy. We looked at practices throughout the chain of command with particular focus on supervisory accountability. We also reviewed how well we assess operational readiness, how effectively we plan missions, how we perform operational risk management and apply it, and how well Navy Diving functions as a learning organization.

As a Navy, we hold ourselves to the highest standard – which is why it’s important to assess how we do business to ensure we’re executing best practices across the Fleet.

The integrated project team consisted of a team of 86 subject matter experts representing Navy Divers across every area of expertise who collaborated to deliver 112 findings and 90 recommended actions. We concluded that supervisory accountability in Navy Diving is effective; however, some specific areas were identified that warrant our focused attention. These include:

– Decision-making by our command leadership and diving supervisors

– How we assess the operational readiness of our diving commands

– How we plan dive missions and manage operational risk

– Diving mishap and near-mishap reporting

– Application of lessons learned

Over the next year, we will work to implement the integrated project team’s recommendations. This will include Fleet review and revision of both the Navy Diving Program Instruction and Navy Diving Manual, and amplifying guidance for diving in the Navy Mishap and Safety Investigation Manual.

I look forward to continued dialogue with the fleet regarding the integrated project team’s recommendations. Like any organization, we periodically review our policies to ensure we are incorporating the best practices. We pride ourselves on continually evolving to meet the challenges of our mission while ensuring we maintain the highest safety standards.

The bottom line is that Navy Diving safely fulfills the Navy’s operational requirements, but we need to improve. I feel that implementing the integrated project team’ recommendations will really benefit Navy Diving, and I look forward to seeing these improvements in action out in the Fleet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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