"Anyhow, I will expect great and grand things from the Zumwalt, the Monsoor, and the Johnson. Why? We paid enough for them to expect excellence. Now let's have it."
When I was fresh into the Navy, a new CNO was chosen. They decided to get someone who would shake things up a bit. Make things even more interesting. So they picked a man named Elmo Zumwalt. The young guys loved him. Why? He let sailors go traditional. A tradition from many, many decades ago. He let sailors grow beards.
Well, that lasted for a while, and then was gone. It was fun while it lasted. I was stationed on an Army base when the order came down that sailors could grow beards. It drove the Army nuts to have a bunch of hirsute faced sailors on their base. Oh, tough toenails. Like I said, it was fun while it lasted.
After I retired from the Naval Reserves, I worked at a company which was doing some development work on a new type of destroyer which would eventually replace the very popular and deadly Arleigh Burke class of DDG's. This new ship class was first going to be called the DD-21, which meant "destroyer for the 21st century". That idea soon evolved into calling this new ship class the DD(X). It was going to have a revolutionary new hull design which was going to by very stealthy. This new hull which would be used not only on the new destroyer, but also eventually on the new cruiser class, which was referred to as the CG-21, or CG(X).
After a while, it was decided by the Navy this new ship class (which looked like something out of Star Wars), would be named after the former CNO, Elmo Zumwalt. The first ship in the class would be the DD-1000, the USS Zumwalt. The Navy was so confident that this new design and hull technology would be a total game changer, it poured billions after billions into the R+D for the design. But who cares? The cost was going to be amortized over the 32 ships which were planned for the DD-1000 ship class. Then as a plus, they could further amortize the cost over the new CG(X) cruiser class ships.
However - there was a fly in the ointment. The costs for development kept growing, and growing, and growing. Pretty soon Congress mandated the number of ships be cut from 32 down to 24. Costs kept growing. Then 24 down to 7. Cost kept growing. Finally, Congress mandated the ship class be capped at 3 - and then the program killed. Oh - and the new CG(X) cruiser class? That died with it.
What does the Navy have to show for all this time and money it put into the Zumwalt class of destroyers? It has the USS Zumwalt (DD-1000), which has been commissioned and in the fleet. Early this year, it will commission the USS Michael Monsoor (DD-1001). Then in a couple years, the third and final ship, the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DD-1002) will be commissioned.
It is estimated that when all is said and done, these three ships will have cost close to $25B to build. For three ships! That is $10B more than our brand new, state of the art, aircraft carrier (USS Gerald R. Ford - (CVN-78)) cost to build. The Zumwalt mess is the kind of thing which turns taxpayers cold on DOD spending. What a waste of money!
Anyhow, I will expect great and grand things from the Zumwalt, the Monsoor, and the Johnson. Why? We paid enough for them to expect excellence. Now let's have it.