(Update 2) Senate Hearing today on SASH at USMMA (with link)

(Update has a link to prepared testimony from a House hearing yesterday at the bottom of the page.)

At 10:00 a.m. today, the Acting Maritime Administrator (Joel Szabat), Superintendent Helis, and DOT’s Inspector General are slated to testify on SASH at USMMA before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.  The hearing will be carried live on the internet at this link:
    (H/T to Maritime TV for the link.)

It’s unfortunate that representatives of the parents and alumni were not invited (at least as far as I know) to testify.  KPS would also have been happy to provide a representative to offer context to the picture; but, we weren’t invited, either.

For background information, check out Superintendent Helis’ testimony from one year ago.  It’s enlightening, because that testimony was given three months before the sea year stand down cancellation — and there is no mention of any problem with SASH during sea year.  Since it was sworn testimony, you might assume he was telling the truth . . . . Unless you were a reader of KPS.  Here was KPS’s analysis of that testimony in the context of the stand down cancellation. Also, here’s a link to the IG’s August 2016 report on the administration’s woeful response to SASH at the Academy, which was a follow up to this October 2014 IG report.


Here is a link to Acting Maritime Administrator Szabat’s prepared testimony. (UPDATE 2: This is from a hearing yesterday in the House, not from today’s testimony).


  1. I followed today’s hearing online and to say that RADM Helis was an embarrassment would be an understatement. It is amazing that he still has a job with such a long record of mismanagement.

  2. Ill sumarize the testimony from todays Senate hearing paraphrasing the trio.. This isnt a quote, just my take away of how MARAD is spinning the narrative.

    Admiral Helis has been battling the toxic command climate at KP for years. All the DOT,DoD, LMI and Middle States studies point to the same issue – Sea Year. Unlike the other FSAs KP does not own summer training to the same extent as the other FSA. Midshipmen come back from sea changed for the worse – more tollerant of SASH behavior. So, even if there is no hard data to back up occurences of SASH at sea, the good old boy culture midshipmen learn at sea hurts command climate at KP.

    They implied the hiring freeze is to blame for lack of faculty and staff, saying that until recently they could not hire SASH billets like Victim Advocates, Commandant, and Dean.

    They reported that the Faculty is part of the problem with one Dept of Shipboard Training member saying…. Women just need to toughen up…

    Basically, the DOT team are victims in all of this and have been working hard to battle all these outside forces that try to corrupt and hurt the mids.

  3. ‘It’s unfortunate that representatives of the parents and alumni were not invited (at least as far as I know) to testify. KPS would also have been happy to provide a representative to offer context to the picture; but, we weren’t invited, either.’ Well it will also be unfortunate if KP loses its accreditation because of some dark behind the scenes effort by the AAF that we ar not allowed to know about

    • It’s not a case of not being “allowed to know about” what the AAF does. Working with Congress is a delicate task. Effective work with Congress is done behind the scenes. You provide information to the Members of Congress; you meet with them. You retain a top-notch PR group like Edelman to tell you how to do it effectively — and you follow the PR group’s advice because they are pros at what they do. (And I’m quite impressed with Edelman.) You do this behind the scenes and let the Members of Congress then run with the ball and get the credit for it.

      If you are sending out updates to your members telling them who you’ve met with and what information you’ve provided to Congress, you are doing it wrong. It might make some of the alumni happy; but it’s counterproductive when it comes to accomplishing your mission. That’s just the way Washington works.

  4. After reading the hearing testimony (see below) of Szabat, Helis and Scovel it is clear that the ‘fix is in.’ The lack of leadership at MARAD and KP was completely obscured by the contrived distraction of SASH as the raison d’etre for the accreditation problem at the Academy.


    The MSCHE placed the Academy on an accreditation warning status based on failing to meet the five specific management (leadership) criteria cited in their report: 1) Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal, 2) Institutional Review, 3) Leadership and Governance, 4) Administration, and 5) Student Support Services.
    Unfortunately, the SASH ‘cover story’ presented in the testimony diverted the attention of the committee from the abysmal failure of Academy leadership to address the the five specific areas noted above that are clearly management responsibilities.

  5. From the video record:

    Whether restricted or unrestricted disclosure, all such allegations must be vigorously pursued, if SASH is perceived to be such an endemic problem. The midshipmen “Its On Us” campaign, though well intentioned, should be re-named to who ultimately is responsible: the leadership at USMMA. It’s on THEM.

    Admiral Helis was not quite truthful when he said all midshipmen are assigned to ships in pairs. Some individual cadets are pulled off for medical or other reasons. Sometimes a remaining midshipman is eventually combined with a state maritime academy student. It varies, depending on the exigencies of the circumstances. One must be careful and deliberate with one’s answers, especially to the ultimate boss: Congress.

  6. How clueless are the Senators, Reed is a USMA grad for Christs sake! Maybe they should visit that delapidated hell hole and do a comparison with the other academies.

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