Manning Still Matters: A Fleet Perspective - USNI Blog

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Good quote from Admiral Nimitz on the EagleSpeak post.

Admiral Nimitz said, “Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.” When we put our men and women into a fleet where they are hamstrung by manning shortfalls, we are not exercising good leadership.

The RN is addressing manning issues head on. The Queen Elizabeth, 3rd largest aircraft carrier in the world (65,000 tonnes, 932’ length), after many delays, is expected to be fully functional in 2021 with a complement of fewer than 700 sailors. US carriers typically carry around 3000. Much of the manpower reduction is achieved through the use of automation including the moving of ordnance from the lower decks to the flight deck. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

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It’s not just the maritime industry that is reducing manning with improvements in technology, automation & efficiency. The food service industry, education, agriculture, construction & healthcare fields are also heading in the same direction, less man hours & workers for the same or more production. With over 7 billion people on the planet & growing, we’ll have a hell of a lot more people than jobs to keep us busy.

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This is from the post in the OP:

” As the CNA study explains, “Navy manpower planning is . . . a rich and complex topic that has a large body of institutional knowledge and a large body of prior research. It is a multidisciplinary subject, and there are many complicated long-standing problems.” It further goes on, “Gaining an understanding of Navy manpower planning is not easy: there’s a lot to learn and no standard texts. Moreover, knowledge is diffuse and not captured in one place.”

Let’s hope it works out better than the US Navy experience.

Three years after the build and following an additional $197 million in taxpayer’s cash to fix the things they still have only half of the Ford’s 11 ordnance elevators working. I bet if those elevators were made to transport contractor cash up to the admiral’s stateroom they would have been working like a Timex watch - inexpensive and dependable - from day one.


Another quote from the article:

It has been my experience and opinion that senior officers and enlisted leaders and advisors are not well-informed enough to effectively represent the effects or to challenge fiscal decision-making that takes excessive risk in fleet manning to pursue other objectives or “priorities.” It was eye-opening to me how little I knew about manpower and manning when I stepped into the role as the Fleet Master Chief for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. There is little to no formal education for senior officers or enlisted; they must rely on prior experience in the manpower world (if they have had the opportunity) or “just-in-time” (more like too little, too late) learning.

Just-in-time - more like too little too late.

Not related to manning but the two separate islands on the QE are a departure from conventional design. The forward island contains the navigation bridge and the one aft of it is dedicated to controlling flight ops.

Somewhat related. As @Klaveness pointed out in another thread, manning on naval ships would be more closely related to the number of systems aboard that require manning rather then to something like LOA.

Isn’t a trade-off being made here between effective deck space and room for crew to work?

This is the explanation given for 2 separate islands:

The primary reason for having twin islands was to space out the funnels, as the ships were designed with redundancy with “duplicated main and secondary machinery in two complexes with independent uptakes and downtakes in each of the two islands”, while the alternative of consolidating all the exhaust trunkings would have reduced hangar space as well as increasing the vulnerability to flooding. There are also additional benefits to having separate islands rather than a single large island, such as easier construction, reduced wind turbulence, and freed up deck space. Using two structures provides separate mountings for the air surveillance radar (forward), which does not interfere with the medium range radar (aft); furthermore, visibility is improved for both navigation and landing operations.

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This site seems good.

Evidently VSTOL require fewer crew.

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There’s almost always stuff you’d never think of involved with design. The book Shattered Sword had quite a bit about the interaction between doctrine, manning and ship design.

We cannot indulge champagne tastes on a beer budget was an astute statement. No point in having these toys if you can’t afford to operate them (when they do work)…I’m a beer man myself.


I enjoyed the Master Chief’s article.

However, enough research has been done, enough position papers written, and enough Natural Working Groups brought to order and adjourned.

Most of the findings were known beforehand and senior management SHOULD have been aware and made decisions to ignore them and get plans in motion that either ignored ( normal for senior leaders because they believe their IRON WILL overcome these shortcomings) or their staffs did not properly identify these risks (criminal at the least).

Regardless, the problem still exists, the offending parties are gone and no longer can be embarassed which is probably the most important factor. 3 years is long enough. 13 sailors are still dead. FIX IT!