The USS Zumwalt’s design was supposed to be part of the 32 ships the Navy requested from Congress with a $46 billion dollar price tag. In 1999, the estimated cost for the stealth destroyer was estimated at $1.34 billion per ship but has actually cost the Navy $7 billion to make. Since the project is so far past their initial budget, instead of the 16 they initially ordered, the Navy now has requested only three. The problems with the design of the ship and poor planning seem to layer themselves on top of one another. What started out as a good plan, has ended up in a mess that has cost the US government billions of dollars.
Besides some flaws in the design of the ship, the project overall has been mismanaged. According to the National Review, the four project managers have used this assignment as a springboard to promotion, leaving the project to run aground. The goal to reduce the crew size, will ultimately put the actual crew in crowded quarters and work spaces, since the original estimated minimalist crew of 95 will realistically be over 147 crew members in order to operate the ship safely and effectively.
The National Review’s article, “How the Navy’s Zumwalt-Class Destroyers Ran Aground” was used as a reference for the issues mentioned above. Please check out the article for a more detailed description of the problems facing the Zumwalt class of destroyers.
Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang