March 1, 2019

READINESS: Navy Short 6,200 At-Sea Sailors Now to Meet New Manning Requirements.

According to the written testimony from Grady and U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. John Aquilino submitted for the hearing, the missing sailors are from the mid-grade and senior enlisted ranks that will take years to train and place in the fleet. The pair indicated there wasn’t a specific set of billets they needed to fill with the new sailors but rather that they were needed across platforms at sea.

That number could grow as the Navy adds ships to the fleet and personnel needs rise, Grady said. Growing sailors fast enough to the level of technical ability to operate the proposed 355 ships is set to be a major challenge for the service and a key focus of the Navy’s ongoing surface reform effort.

Acute manning problems were found to be a factor in the fatal collisions of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS John McCain (DDG-56). For example, Fitzgerald did not have lookouts on the bridge wing immediately before the crash, and sailors aboard McCain weren’t qualified to use the helm controls which contributed to its collision.

Not good.

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