The Navy’s ability to accomplish its mission is at risk from one primary factor—the high cost of manning its ships. There is no question that personnel costs consume an increasing percentage of the Navy’s budget. Over the past several decades, numerous commissions and studies have identified the challenge of the cost of military manpower, especially its impact on the total ownership cost of weapon systems.1
The Navy has demonstrated the ability to reduce manning on its surface combatants. The Zumwalt (DDG-1000)-class ships have deeply reduced manpower requirements compared to their predecessors. Now the Navy must choose––will it design the Navy-after-next around a manning construct similar to the DDG-1000, or face a steadily declining force, not because ships are too expensive to buy, but because they are too expensive to man?
Cost of Manpower?