Recruiting has emerged as one of the main challenges for the US military service branches in recent years. Each branch is taking steps to attract and retain the personnel it wants. For the Navy, appealing to new sailors now could have a long-lasting impact on its ships. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
More than one senior military leader has said the services are facing a "war for talent," as a stronger economy and two decades of war, among other factors, make military service less appealing to young Americans. The Army, striving to reach 500,000 active-duty soldiers by the end of this decade, has rolled out an esports team to attract recruits. The Air Force, facing a protracted pilot shortage, capitalized on the recent blockbuster "Captain Marvel" with a recruiting drive. For the Navy, which wants more ships to do more operations across a greater area, the effort to attract more people — and the right people — is influencing ship design, the service's top civilian official said this week. "What we have to think about — and we're sort of a platform-centric service, both us and the Marine Corps — is how do we reduce the number of people we have and that distributed maritime force that we have? How do we get lethality out there without having to have 300 people on a ship to deliver it?" Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in response to a question about personnel costs, which rise faster than inflation. "It also requires, I think, an increase in the level of capability and skill that we have in the force, and that's why we're investing so much in education, because you're going to ask these people to do a lot more and to be a lot more adaptable in the jobs that ... we're asking them to do," Modly said.
That thinking was "sort of the philosophy" behind the Navy's future guided-missile frigate, Modly added. Frigates do many of the same missions as destroyers and cruisers but are smaller and less equipped and therefore generally do those missions in lower-threat areas. The Navy wants the new frigate to be able to operate in open-ocean and near-shore environments and to conduct air, anti-submarine, surface, and electronic warfare and information operations. "That's going to be a fairly lightly-manned ship with a lot of capability on it," Modly said. "I had a great example of a ship, and I won't mention which manufacturer it was, but I went into the ship and they showed me a stateroom with four bunks and its own shower and bathroom facility," Modly said. He continued: "I was in the Navy back in the Cold War, and I said, 'Wow, this is a really nice stateroom for officers.' They said, 'No, this where our enlisted people live.' And I said, 'Well, why did you design the ship like that?' And they said, 'We designed the ship like this for the type of people we want to recruit to man it.'" "That's really what we have to think about," Modly added. "They're going to be more lightly manned but with probably more highly-skilled people who have lots of opportunities to do things in other places, so we have to be able to attract those people. That is a big, big part of our challenge." 10 frigates in four years
The Navy's most recent frigates were the Oliver Hazard Perry class, or FFG-7 — 51 of which entered service between 1977 and 1989 and were decommissioned between 1994 and 2015. While the design for the future frigate, designated FFG(X), has not yet been selected, the Navy plans to award the design and construction contract in July, according to budget documents released this month. The Navy is only considering designs already in use, and the firms in the running are Fincantieri with its FREMM frigate design, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Navantia with the latter's F-100 variant, Austal USA with a frigate version of its Independence-class littoral combat ship, and Huntington Ingalls with what many believe may be a variation of the National Security Cutter it's building for the Coast Guard, according to Defense News. The Navy plans for design and construction of the first ship to take until 2026 but expects construction to increase rapidly thereafter, with the 10th arriving by 2030, eventually producing 20 of the new frigates. Without an exact design, cost is hard to estimate, but the Navy wants to keep the price below a billion dollars per ship for the second through 20th ships and hit a total program cost of $19.81 billion.
The Navy also wants to use dual-crewing to maximize the time its future frigates spend at sea. Switching between a "blue crew" and a "gold crew" extends the amount of time the ship can operate — allowing frigates to take on missions that larger combatants, like destroyers, have been saddled with — without increasing the burden on the crew and their families; it's already in use on ballistic-missile submarines and littoral combat ships. Dual-crewing "should double" the new frigate's operational availability, Vice Adm. Ronald Boxall, then the surface-warfare director for the chief of naval operations, told Defense News at the end of 2018. In the blue-gold crew model, the crew of the ship would still be working to improve their skills in what Boxall described as "higher-fidelity training environments." "In an increasingly complex environment, it's just intuitive that you have to have time to train," Boxall told Defense News. "We think Blue-Gold makes sense for those reasons on the frigate."SEE ALSO: The top Marine officer thinks the Corps needs to be more unpredictable and that it needs the 'Lightning carrier' to do it Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We went inside the US Naval Academy at Annapolis to see what it's really like for new Navy plebes on their first day
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US Navy finishes testing every sailor on aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus, with over 800 testing positive
The US Navy has finished testing the entire crew of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore...The US Navy has finished testing the entire crew of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the service announced Thursday. Since the outbreak began a month ago, 840 sailors assigned to the carrier have tested positive for the virus. The carrier is mostly empty at the moment, as around 88% of the crew has been moved ashore in Guam, where the ship has been sidelined for weeks. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. One month after the first coronavirus cases appeared on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the US Navy has finished testing all of the roughly 4,800 sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier. The Navy reported Thursday that "100% of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) crewmembers have been tested for COVID-19" and 840 sailors aboard the deployed warship have tested positive. The service is still awaiting the results of about 10 tests. Eighty-eight of those infected have recovered, the Navy said. Four of the sailors who have not yet recovered are currently in the hospital in Guam. Since the outbreak began, the virus has claimed one life aboard the ship, that of 41-year-old Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. The Navy reported Thursday that 4,234 sailors, approximately 88% of the crew, have been moved ashore in Guam, where the ship has been sidelined by the outbreak. The first three cases aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which deployed to the Pacific in January, were announced on March 24. In the days that followed, the number of coronavirus cases aboard the flattop quickly multiplied. Two days after the first cases were announced, Navy leadership revealed plans to test all of the sailors aboard the carrier. "We found several more cases on board the ship," then-acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said. "We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we're able to contain whatever spread might have occurred there." On March 30, Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship's commanding officer, wrote a letter warning that the situation aboard the carrier was worsening and urging the Navy to quickly evacuate the crew. "Sailors do not need to die," he wrote. Crozier, who pushed for the evacuation of roughly 90% of the crew, was relieved of his command after his letter leaked to the media. Modly, who resigned less than a week after Crozier was relieved, said earlier this month that "we cannot and will not remove all the sailors from the ship," explaining that the plan with regard to the carrier was to "remove as much of the crew as we can while maintaining for the ship's safety." The majority of the crew has since gone ashore in Guam, where most are in isolation in hotels and other facilities. The sailors still on board the carrier have been working to thoroughly disinfect the ship as well as maintain important systems. The Navy has reported a total of 1,366 cases of coronavirus among its personnel, with the majority of those among sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. A Navy official told Insider that there is currently no clear timetable for when the carrier will be ready to set sail.SEE ALSO: US Air Force rushes to build medical facility to treat sick sailors from coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: This incredible time-lapse shows what a day is like on an aircraft carrier
Top US Navy official who resigned under pressure was reportedly angry at an aircraft carrier crew's emotional send-off of the captain he had fired
Former acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly was angered by the videos of sailors cheering for their...Former acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly was angered by the videos of sailors cheering for their recently-fired commander, according to The New York Times. Modly then took a jet to fly to Guam to address the ship's crew — a trip that reportedly cost over $243,000. Modly was not the only Navy official vexed by the circumstances: Adm. Robert Burke, the vice chief of naval operations, reportedly told the ship's senior medical officer that they failed as a leader, two crew members told The Times. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Former acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly was angered by the videos of sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt cheering for their recently-fired commander, according to a New York Times report published Sunday. Modly, who on April 2 fired the aircraft carrier's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was angry after several videos showed dozens of crew members gathering to send off Crozier with applause and cheers, Navy officials told The Times. Videos of the incident trended online and have since garnered support for the departed commander, who was removed after his letter pleading Navy leaders for help with a coronavirus outbreak leaked to the press. Modly then took a jet to fly to Guam to address the ship's crew — a trip that reportedly cost over $243,000. Using the ship's announcement system, Modly defended his decision to fire Crozier in a 15-minute profanity-laced speech and expressed continued support for the crew. Audio of the all-hands call were eventually leaked to news organizations. "That's your duty. Not to complain. Everyone's scared about this thing," Modly said in the call. "But I'll tell you something, if this ship was in combat and there were hypersonic missiles coming at it, you'd be pretty f---ing scared too. But you do your jobs. And that's what I expect you to do." Modly was not the only Navy official vexed by the circumstances. Adm. Robert Burke, the vice chief of naval operations, reportedly told the ship's senior medical officer that they failed as a leader, two crew members told The Times. Modly fired Crozier after the captain warned about the coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship. The warning, which came in the form of a four-page letter, was sent by email to over 20 people; and eventually leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Modly, Crozier violated military protocols, circumventing the chain of command by sending the letter to a group of people. Modly said that while he did not know how the letter got to the media, there was a "proper way" for Crozier to handle his concerns. "If he didn't think ... that if he didn't think that information wasn't going to get out into the public, in this information age that we live in, then he was either A: too naive, or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this," Modly said of Crozier. "The alternative is that he did this on purpose." Modly's comments immediately sparked intense backlash from lawmakers and the ship's sailors. Modly later walked backed his comments and apologized. He resigned on April 7. In his final message to the entire Navy, Modly admitted his comments were "a poor use of words." "You are justified in being angry with me about that," Modly said in the message, according to the Navy Times. "There is no excuse, but perhaps a glimpse of understanding, and hopefully empathy." "But what's done is done," he added. "I can't take it back, and frankly I don't know if I walked back up that quarterdeck today if I wouldn't have the same level of emotions that drove my delivery yesterday." Crozier has since been in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus. Over 580 of the USS Theodore Roosevelt's crew of 4,800 tested positive as of Sunday, according to the Navy. Nearly 4,000 of the crew members have since evacuated the ship into Guam, where many of them are under quarantine in hotels.Join the conversation about this story »
Navy admiral admits that morale has taken a hit after USS Theodore Roosevelt's coronavirus outbreak and commander firing
US Navy Vice Adm. Bill Merz, the commander of the United States' largest forward-deployed fleet, visited...US Navy Vice Adm. Bill Merz, the commander of the United States' largest forward-deployed fleet, visited the USS Theodore Roosevelt to speak to its crew, CNN reported. "There was lots of anxiety about the virus," Merz reportedly said. "As you can imagine the morale covers the spectrum, considering what they have been through." Merz, who saw the videos of Capt. Brett Crozier's rousing send-off, said his immediate reaction was "our job just got harder for us." Merz said he believed Crozier's "motives were pure" when he emailed his letter and that "he was looking out for his crew." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. US Navy Vice Adm. Bill Merz, the commander of the United States' largest forward-deployed fleet, visited the aircraft carrier reeling from a coronavirus outbreak and admitted the morale for some of its crew was negatively impacted by recent events. "There was lots of anxiety about the virus," Merz told CNN. "As you can imagine the morale covers the spectrum, considering what they have been through." The nuclear-powered USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently stationed in Guam, has been beset with a range of recent problems — including the firing of its commander, Capt. Brett Crozier. On April 2, Crozier was relieved of command by the then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly after he emailed a four-page letter to over 20 people, warning about the coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship. The letter was eventually leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, which published its contents. It was not immediately clear how the letter was leaked, but Navy leaders said they recently completed an investigation into the matter. Modly scrutinized Crozier's decision to email the letter to the group and accused him of circumventing the service's chain of command. In a leaked 15-minute speech directly to the crew aboard the ship, Modly went on to suggest that Crozier was either insubordinate or "too naïve or too stupid." Modly apologized for his remarks and resigned on Tuesday. Crozier, who was hailed as a benevolent commander by many aboard the ship and Democratic lawmakers, has since been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. As Crozier left his ship, dozens of crew members, in close proximity with each other, saw him off by cheering him on. Vice Adm. Merz, who saw the videos of the send-off, said his immediate reaction was "our job just got harder for us" because of the lack of social distancing. Merz told CNN the ship's crew was "struggling in the wake of losing their [commanding officer] and their perception of the lack of activity regarding fighting the virus." Merz cited an apparent disconnect between information about the coronavirus and the USS Theodore Roosevelt. "I think we could have told them earlier what we knew," Merz said. "The degree of accuracy against the virus at any level is a little sketchy, but I think we could have at least bought [sic] them in earlier and started having this dialogue up front." "I certainly don't think it was malice by the ship or the leadership" Merz added. "I think it was just a matter of getting their arm around what they could and could not tell them." Merz, like Modly and other Pentagon leaders, said he believed Crozier's "motives were pure" when he emailed his letter and that "he was looking out for his crew." More than 2,300 of the carrier's roughly 4,800 crew members have been evacuated, and many of them are under quarantine in hotels in Guam. Over 445 crew members had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday. Join the conversation about this story »