This is another example of a problem we continue to have; - leaders have too much ego invested in their prior poor decisions. As a result, when we start cutting steel (or aluminum) or have to actually war game with actual capabilities and numbers and math; reality and Newtonian Physics prove their cute PPT theories wrong - our leadership refuses to admit that a conceptual mistake was made and a correction needs to be made. We are all human.
That is one way to accept it. The other is to draw from the Rube Goldberg school of leadership and magagement and find another answer so you don't have to admit a mistake. Here we go.
The Navy’s top officer has announced that the service, after some study, will embark a detachment of civil-service mariners on a yet-to-be named amphibious ship during the next year. The trial will test the feasibility of “hybrid crews” aboard amphibious ships, a drastic change under consideration as the Navy tries to cut runaway manpower costs.Here is the kicker; for some reason the phrase "Sailors are our #1 asset" has been turned on its head to "Sailors are our #1 liability." As our shore Staffs and Flag Officer-to-Warship ratios bloat, we have been forcing the operational side of the house - you know, the reason a Navy exists - to go with Orwellian concepts such as "Optimal Manning" and "doing more with less."
Fewer civilian engineers may be required to run the same engineering plant, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said in announcing the initiative Nov. 10 in a speech in Washington.
The initial idea came up in a discussion where amphibs were compared with command ships and submarine tenders, which are already manned by hybrid crews, Roughead said. “We looked at the logistics force and someone said, ‘You know, the amphibious ships are basically the same type of ship.’ They do have more complex combat systems on them that have a lot of need for sailors onboard. And so I said I was comfortable with doing a pilot to see how it would work.”
It doesn't work. For those who listen to Midrats - when we ask everyone from Leading Petty Officers to Commanding Officers a question about manning we get the same answer; ignore the spin, Optimal Manning is a failure. How many more JAGMANs and INSURVs do we need to see?
As we can't/won't better contain our personnel costs - we become a self-parody of an armed service. You go to war with the Navy you have in peace. If you do that wrong - then your Navy is of no use except for exercises and Fleet Week.
Looking for a way out - some smart and good people will grab hold of any concept that will fix the short term problem, ignoring the significantly bad long-term second and third order effects.
Instinctively, they know this - but for reasons best known to themselves; they ignore it.
“It’s not simply a matter of running with a mixed crew,” Roughead said. “There’s some laws-of-war issues we have to take a look at where the ships may operate, but I do believe it will give us some good information.”The laws of war state that there are no laws. There are a few things that are constant though; the truth changes, the enemy gets a vote, you do what needs to be done to make mission.
Significant numbers of CIVMAR on a warship that needs to close the beach is a non-starter. It may seem like a good idea to accountants at peace - but it sub-optimizes a command at war and unnecessarily complicates a Commanding Officers options and ability to fight his ship.
Instead of inventing manning concepts that need a room full of under-employed JAGs to describe in 75-110 PPT slides - and in any event will not survive the first ASCM hit - we should invest our intellectual capital to make sure we have our Sailor manning concepts correct.
Talk to your Chiefs. Talk to your LPOs. Talk to your Junior Officers. Talk to your Commanding Officers. Off the record with Chatham House Rules. Your answers are there if you are willing to hear them and take action.
Great thing about those consultants - they don't cost you extra to get advice from and hey, they might even have some recent operational experience to draw from.