WASHINGTON — The fatal collision of destroyer John S. McCain with the tanker Alnic MC on Aug. 21, 2017, stunned the U.S. Navy. It came just two months after another U.S. 7th Fleet destroyer, Fitzgerald, was involved in another deadly collision. With 17 sailors dead from two avoidable accidents, the Navy had much to study and to fix — and quickly.

Over the course of investigations, an enormous amount of information came to light. But did these steps actually bring about change?

Six officials with first-hand knowledge of the surface force then and now spoke to Defense News to discuss the implementation of safety measures, and more that must be done to avoid another fatal mishap. These interviews were edited for length and clarity.

[Read the full-length interview with all six officials]

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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