Two major, ongoing stories involving the Navy and the coronavirus illustrate a key challenge the U.S. military is facing: the need to be agile so that innovation can thrive.
First, the USNS Comfort was sent to New York City to help relieve hospitals and other medical centers inundated with patients. But the ship was unable to quickly take on many of those patients, due to what The New York Times called a “tangle of military protocols and bureaucratic hurdles.” As the head of New York’s largest hospital system put it, “If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke.”
Meanwhile, there’s the story of Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, who was fired ostensibly for not following the formal chain of command — though he was clearly trying to protect his crew from the deadly coronavirus. Sailors cheered for Crozier as he departed the USS Theodore Roosevelt, showing their support for him. (Crozier later reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 himself.)