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Navy classifies ship inspection reports

Feb. 27, 2009 - 04:00PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 27, 2009 - 04:00PM  |  
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The Navy has classified regular reports about the material condition of its fleet, an about-face from when the reports were accessible as public documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

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The Navy has classified regular reports about the material condition of its fleet, an about-face from when the reports were accessible as public documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reports, filed by the Board of Inspection and Survey, or InSurv, contain the findings of meticulous, days-long inspections that cover every detail of the workings of surface ships, aircraft carriers and submarines.

In December, InSurv president Rear Adm. Raymond Klein decided the reports were to be classified, said Linda Alvers, the FOIA coordinator for Fleet Forces Command. She said she did not know why. Also unclear was whether the classification order applied only to InSurvs performed after December, or whether it included reports from before then.

Neither Klein nor a representative for InSurv could be reached to comment for this story.

InSurvs are circulated widely among commanders and technical authorities within the Navy, but seldom seen by civilians unless they've been specifically requested under freedom of information laws. Even then, Navy officials can redact the names of people; information about classified equipment; or trade secrets of shipbuilders or other venders.

Over the past year, InSurvs obtained by Navy Times have revealed severe problems aboard the cruiser Chosin, the destroyer Stout and the amphibious transport dock New Orleans.

The reports have also revealed when the Navy has taken delivery of well-built ships, including the amphibious transport dock Green Bay and the first littoral combat ship, the Freedom.

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