The modern technology-intensive fleet the U.S. Navy is putting to sea will require a new skill set for sailors who increas- ingly will be harder to
recruit. The Navy needs the
same high-technology talent
coming out of high schools and colleges
that the commercial sector seeks rigorously, and this competition likely will
intensify for the foreseeable future.
New ships such as the Zumwalt-
class destroyers rely heavily on technology to reduce personnel numbers.
The Zumwalt crews only 130 people
along with an aviation detachment of
28 sailors, compared to more than 300
on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The
Zumwalt also is expected to incorporate next-generation weapon systems
currently under development. With
fewer sailors on board, those individuals need to possess more diverse skills
as they multitask during operations.
These skills dovetail with the new
technologies being incorporated into
the naval force. New information
capabilities are easily embraced by
young people who have grown up with
them. The same holds for training
technologies that continue to become
more elaborate with their objectives.
Yet, the advanced nature of naval
technologies also poses a challenge for
training. Some platforms, such as the
F- 35 fighter jet, are so elaborate that
providing live training for all person-
nel—whether pilots or support crew—
is quite complicated. So, virtual train-
ing must increase in size and
scope to meet that challenge.
Vice Adm. Bill Moran, USN,
Previous Navy personnel criteria
focused on quantity over quality, but
that must change, Adm. Moran offers.
Personnel costs are climbing, and so is
the quality of recruits. Yet the ratio of
senior staff sailors to junior warfight-
ers is increasing. This is an unsustain-
able model over time, he states.
The Navy adds 40,000 people in any
given year. Conversely, 40,000 people
leave the sea service each year. About
33,000 people in the Navy are undergoing training, and more than 90,000
people move within the service each
year. These numbers stand out against
the backdrop of a total force of nearly
With these figures in mind, the
Navy must quicken its pace of learning among its sailors, the admiral says.
The only way it will be able to afford
future weapon systems and platforms
is to reduce its personnel costs. Other
The U.S. Navy will need to train
a different type of sailor for its
new ships and operations.
BY ROBERT K.
than reducing salaries and benefits, the
only solution is to reduce the number
Adm. Moran notes that the generation of young people joining the Navy
today has grown up in an information management world far different
from that of their predecessors. Their
access to information, their ability to
learn and their talents at gaming all are
methods that provide instruction in
this information age. The Navy is slow