The US Navy has decided to end its lifetime ban on live-fire training, citing a growing awareness among some military personnel that “there are people who may not be willing to go through life on a limb.”
“It has become increasingly clear to us that there are people in the military who do not want to be exposed to a whole host of dangers that the rest of us face,” Rear Adm.
John Kirby, the commandant of the Naval Special Warfare Command, said during a press conference Friday, announcing the policy change.
Kirby said he wants to give commanders a chance to “step back” and take stock of their own mental health and to reflect on what they’re learning in training.
He also stressed that the policy is not an end to the military’s commitment to training its own troops.
“This is not a change in doctrine.
This is just something we’re taking a look at,” he said.”
What we have done is really make the decision that, in the event we see a need for some additional support in the future, we’re going to support that as well.”‘
This is going to be very, very difficult’A growing number of military officers have been urging the Navy to reevaluate its ban on “live-fire exercises,” a term that has come under fire in recent months as the Navy has faced increasing criticism for its deadly warship warship program.
The policy change was first announced last week, and it came after months of criticism from retired generals, civilian lawmakers and military leaders over the program.
“It is time to stop pretending that live-combat training is not deadly,” retired Air Force Col. Bill Gaddy, who retired as commandant in August, said in a letter to Kirby, who has served as the chief of Naval special operations since 2013.
“We have seen the dangers of live-action training for decades and it has been proven time and time again,” Gaddy said.
“It is no different from a real-life training scenario in which people get into real danger and have to make difficult choices.”
The ban on Live-Fire Training, or FTM, was announced by the Naval Sea Systems Command in 2015 and was intended to ensure the readiness of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six, the elite unit that was responsible for the SEAL Team 9 mission that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.”FTM is the most dangerous, least regulated and least monitored training scenario,” Kirby said.
The ban was instituted as part of a larger program to “degrade and disorient” sailors.
The Navy’s training plans are based on what it calls “dumb luck” — a method of training that involves being taught to expect things in a situation that you know will turn out to be not what you expect.
“The Navy believes that these training exercises have no place in the modern, agile, modern world,” Kirby told reporters.
“There is no reason to have them in the Navy today.
They are no longer necessary.”
While some have criticized the ban on FTM as a violation of the constitutional rights of sailors, Kirby argued that the ban is necessary to ensure that the Navy is properly prepared for future crises.
“As you may know, our adversaries are not always going to respond to our training, and we are often not prepared to deal with what they might do, let alone respond to them,” Kirby argued.
“We have to be prepared for what the adversary is going, what their capabilities are going, and what the consequences of any given action might be.
That’s why FTM is so important.”
The Navy, however, does not intend to end the ban.
The commandant said that he was “deeply concerned” by the growing numbers of incidents of live gunfire that have resulted in injuries and deaths.
“There are people out there who do want to go to war, and there are other people out of our ranks who may wish to go,” Kirby concluded.
“This is the only way to ensure there is no longer a place for live-fighting.”