In the original plan, the littoral combat ship (LCS) was to be manned according to a 3-2-1 model: three crews to man two ships, with one ship on deployment. Now the manning model revolves around the concepts of blue/gold crewing and a training ship for each LCS division. These changes are intended to optimize the time an LCS can spend deployed, but the upcoming selected restricted maintenance availability for the USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) and the recent deployment of the USS Detroit (LCS-7) from Mayport, Florida—the first East Coast LCS deployment—will expose flaws in both concepts. Frank discussion and a willingness to move away from entrenched positions will help the Navy choose a better way to man and train these versatile platforms.
In the blue/gold concept, two crews of approximately 70 sailors alternate to man the ship. This is designed to give the off-hull crew dedicated time to rest, retrain, and recertify before its next on-hull period. Once an LCS deploys, a crew rotation is expected roughly every five months.