DD-21's design teams and technicians are sparing no expense in crafting a revolutionary new ship. The way the Navy mans its ships must undergo a revolution as well.
In placing sailors on ships, the Navy's next surface combatant-the Zumwalt (DD-21) class-will be a departure from current procedures. The actual breakdown still is under development, but because manning a new surface combatant in many ways is less about the platform than it is about manning policies and precedents, DD-21 is an excellent case study to address this cultural issue. Starting with a broad-brush analysis of roles and missions, we can arrive at rough manning levels, in the process revisiting some paradigms in the transition to a ship with less than one-third the crew of a current combatant with similar missions.
The first "fact" is that the crew will consist of no more than 95 sailors, of which 22 belong to the air detachment. The second "fact" is that the ship will have a commanding officer. After that, everything is assumption.
Assumption #1: Officer and chief petty officer manning will follow precedent.