Wednesday, September 26, 2012

GAO to the Navy: Child Please!

A lot ... and I mean A LOT of you are rightly focused on the latest GAO report; Navy Needs to Assess Risks to Its Strategy to Improve Ship Readiness. I think I might have a little revolt on the front porch if I don't post on it; so here we go.

It is important reading that will enlighten some, and drive others to distraction. Put me in the second category as it puts out there what many of us have been writing about for over half a decade. None. Of. This. Should. Be. A. Shock. It. Was. Predictable. By. Any. Honest. Objective. Overview. Of. The. Direction. Our. Leadership. Was. Taking. Us.
In 2010, a Navy report found that the material readiness of its surface force had declined over the previous ten years and was well below the levels necessary to support reliable, sustained operations at sea and achieve expected ship service lives. Among other things, the report found that the declines in material readiness were attributable to reductions in the number of assessments and inspections, deferrals of scheduled maintenance, and reductions in the length of major repair periods from 15 to 9 weeks.
Good stuff here for review. You know that little buggabear about technology risk we were yammer'n about WRT LCS, DDG-1000 and others? Well, that is just part of a larger problem we have in talking about and mitigating risk. A culture steeped in happy-talk does just that - avoids talking about risk. This is a cultural problem.
... the Navy has not undertaken a comprehensive assessment of risks to the implementation of its strategy, nor has it developed alternatives to mitigate its risks.
Yes, and next time will you PLEASE at least have a link to CDRSalamander in the footnotes? One note of caution;
From 2010 to March 2012, INSURV data indicated a slight improvement in the material readiness of the surface combatant and amphibious warfare fleet, but over that period casualty reports from the ships increased, which would indicate a decline in material readiness.
This can also be read that improvements are the RESULT of more CASREPS, but it can also be the fact that we are running ships hard and have fewer people in ship's company that can fix things themselves; maybe both?

Read it all.


Ronbo said...

I have some insight into the INSURV process but I know one factor to consider is don't tie the rate of CASREPs as a direct correlation to material readiness. Ships write CASREPs today because they don't have OPTAR funds to actually purchase the needed CASREP part(s) on their own. This is quite a different CONOP than in years past when a part needed to be expedited through the supply system. As with any government operation, funds become available for unfunded maintenance in Aug and Sep of the FY which leaves little room for programmed maintenance. Tie all the funding issues with outsourcing of traditional maintenance and even shipboard work, the lack of hard decision making at the flag level and the inability (sometimes) of COs to realize that long days of work will impact morale but will also have a greater chance to make significant inroads into a ship's material and combat readiness.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that even remotely suggests that more inspections are needed, or that we do not have enough is someone that is completely clueless. Instead, I counter that opinion. We are inundated with inspections to the point that we don't even complete identified requirements (i.e.: repairs, improvements, etc.) before the next inspection is upon us. This year, I experienced four inspections in which the inspector stated that he knew we were on top of our issues and further understood we just needed the parts. These were his words at all three subsequent inspections. I suggest you leave me the chance to lead and manage and request an inspection when I know my parts are installed. While I realize this will never be accepted, I think two to three fewer inspections in my case would have freed up money somewhere that we could have allocated to the required parts. Please put some of the responsibility back on my shoulders. When I know I need, want, or require an inspection, let me be the first to request it. I grant that my suggestion doesn't apply to those folks that disregard inspections because they are potentially hiding issues, but in my case, the opposite and excess inspections were borderline fraud, waste, and abuse due to the manpower cost to repeatedly send out an inspector who wholeheartedly admitted that he was just repeating his previous three findings. Let the Sailors get back to work and fix the issues. Let the leadership be leaders.

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