Cole's legacy: a different U.S. Navy

we have to be prepared. We have to be on task, 24-7-365, when we’re in the combat zone.”

In addition, he said, the defensive concept of anti-terrorism operations applies globally. Guidance is aligned all down the line.

Citing security concerns, 5th Fleet reveals little about operational changes in the region, but said the rules for ships pulling into ports have been changed “to mitigate possible attacks.” Multiple factors, such as threat assessments and host nation resources, go into deciding whether to enter a given port, Derrick-Frost said.

Asked whether Navy ships still stop in Yemen’s Aden Harbor to refuel, Derrick-Frost replied, “U.S. Navy ships have not actively visited the port of Aden since the Cole tragedy.”

The Pentagon report called for better rapid incident response. All Navy regional operations centers are now connected by a command-and-control network, McCormick said. From his base in Norfolk, Virginia, he said he can dial one number and be simultaneously connected to all six Navy regional operations centers in the United States, both Navy numbered fleets, Navy Installations Command and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“So if something happens on the West Coast, and we’re alerted, I can immediately tell everyone in the nation,” McCormick said. Overseas, combatant commanders’ Maritime Operations Centers are similarly linked to the system, he said.

He added, that, that “At the end of the day, it’s still those sailors on the ship that make the difference. … If they’re doing their job to the best of their ability, they’re going to beat them.”

McCormick emphasized the importance of U.S. forces remaining nimble enough to keep ahead of an elusive insurgent enemy.

“We’ve closed all the gaps that enabled Cole to happen, let’s say,” McCormick said. “But you know, we’re up against a highly dynamic, innovative and adaptive enemy, who now has increased what they can do. Have we matched up to that? I’ll be very honest with you: We found that we still have some work to do.”

McMichael writes that the Cole plays a highly visible role in Navy damage-control training, which begins in boot camp with the pre-graduation Battle Stations event. One of the improvements, and seminal events, that takes place aboard the realistic destroyer mock-up housed inside a building at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, is called “The Cole Scenario.”

The room’s mess decks have collapsed onto a berthing area — the opposite of what happened on Cole, but real-enough looking, officials say. There are dummy bodies