According to DoDBuzz.com:
Adding maintenance personnel to ship crews helps reverse the impacts of a decade-old plan called “optimal manning,” which sought to reduce crew sizes with a sharper warfighting focus and improved on-board technology.
“We went through a period where we said we are going to downsize the size of the crews, saying we’re really going tighten that up and make them just about warfighting. I would say we probably went a little too far — so we’re putting back into the engineering departments of those ships,” Naval Sea Systems Command leader Vice Adm. Willy Hilarides told DoDBuzz.com.
The plan is expected to not only lower maintenance costs for the ships upon their return, but also increase the longevity of the ships when they are deployed at sea.
Hilarides also told DoDBuzz.com that that 78 percent of the Navy’s current lineup of ships will be in the water 10 years from now, “a circumstance which underscores the importance of maintenance and modernization.”