the 2008 decision by Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, to curtail the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer program at just three ships—the original goal was 32—does not diminish the value of this warship. In addition to leading-edge off-the-shelf operational capabilities for today’s Fleet, it will be the primary technology bridge to the “Navy-after-next,” helping shape next-generation aircraft carriers, surface combatants, amphibious ships, and even auxiliaries and other craft.1 As Admiral Roughead explained to the House Armed Services Committee in February 2010, “The DDG-1000 Zumwalt guided-missile destroyer will be an optimally crewed, multi-mission surface combatant designed to fulfill long-range precision land-attack requirements.”2
From Minimal to Optimal
Crew? What crew? To reduce total ownership costs, manpower has recently been stripped to the bone in the Navy’s newest ships. Now, designers seem to have arrived at a more reasonable—and efficient—crew complement for the new DDG-1000 guided-missile destroyer.
By Captain George V. Galdorisi, U.S. Navy (Retired), and Scott C. Truver