From the start, Lippold was confronting a Navy tradition of punishing any ship commander who hazards his vessel.More on "Kimmelization" here. And here.
"Promotion is based upon a successful command tour," retired Adm. Harold Gehman, who investigated the role of Lippold's chain of command in the Cole attack, said in an interview. "They don't need any other reason than that not to promote you."
Beyond that, an internal Navy report raised questions about Lippold's adherence to security procedures and the ship's training regimen.
But Lippold's chain of command, up to the Joint Chiefs chairman and the secretary of defense, overruled the Navy report, finding that he could have done nothing to prevent the suicide bombing. A separate independent commission, led by Gehman and retired Gen. William Crouch, found that Lippold's superior officers had ill prepared him for docking in a place such as Yemen.
"There were a lot of things that the people above him didn't do very well," Gehman said.
And, yes, CO's do bear the burden of always being right. Regardless of the circumstances- maybe- Admiral Nimitz did ground his ship and "was courts-martialed for grounding her, an obstacle in his career which he overcame."
Hat tip: Cannoneer4 in his comment to an earlier post.