But there is another issue to address also. The technical ratings, have a severe deficit in training, experience, and ability. Much of the talent that was in the fleet is now retired. Some of these super techs are now civilians working for the shore establishment of the Navy, doing world wide tech assist, at an alarming rate. Quite a while ago, I was involved in a revolutionary project to establish a remote monitoring program for most of the Navy's high cost systems. The concept was to use existing systems monitoring programs, bounce the change data off the satellite and back to the shore maintenance establishment for monitoring. When a system was near failure, the super techs could tell the ship to replace the components, do the adjustment, or buy a plane ticket to meet the ship if the repair was more than the ship's tech was capable of. Please don't tell me it can't be done, the Marines adopted it, the oil and gas drilling industry has been doing it for 20+ years, and the airlines are doing it. There is a company, headquartered in Denver, named M2M that specializes in this. Ratheon Corporation jumped on the band wagon and now ALL CIWS and RAM systems are remote monitor ready. There is one particular use of this for the U.S. Army that has brought some wonderful data and set up some impressive maintenance successes, not to mention system up time that far exceeds the Navy's for the same system. But the Navy's Engineering Duty Officer program, who are in charge of what goes on Navy ships, is stuck in the "Not invented here" thought process. We can reduce manning on Navy ships, use less experienced, less trained sailors, and still complete our mission while reducing the cost of system's maintenance, if we introduce remote monitoring for most systems and develop replacement data based on usage, equipment performance parameters, and permit the gray beards in the shore establishment to manage this process. If we continue to follow "Not invented here" we will end up with dead sailors and ships on the bottom of the ocean. You figure out the cost! I say my idea is cheaper.
One other point, if they can use robots to do surgery, if the news media can send video reports back to FOX and CNN from anywhere in the world with little more than a cell phone, why can't every corpsman in the field have a satellite phone in his backpack that connects to a doctor? That might save a life or two also.