Tuesday, October 06, 2009

But I thought we "benchmarked best practices"?

Phil Ewing should get royalty checks from cdrsalamander...
“Bottom line: The maintenance community is not currently structured and the business practices do not currently support the large volume of work which inevitably must take place to prepare a ship for InSurv,” said the message, obtained by Navy Times. “The significant labor pool which rallied in support of SJA contributed greatly to preparations for the M.I. Without this additional manpower SJA would not have been ready for the M.I.”
So sayeth Capt. John Cordle, Commanding Officer USS SAN JACINTO - so sayeth we all.

So Big Navy - how is that optimal manning working for 'ya? Being that all us retrograde troglodytes were wrong and all - I am sure that all is well.
...it took the ship’s company, plus as many as 87 extra people from 16 commands working as much as three months in advance, to set the ship up for its material inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey.
According to Cordle’s message, cruisers today have about 44 fewer sailors than before the onset of “optimal manning.” And because San Jacinto had recently come back from a deployment, its ship’s company was even smaller, Butler said.
Oh, and goodness --- did you know that something shocking .... shocking ... has developed - something we have NEVER EVER seen in the Navy?
The story of San Jacinto’s InSurv preparations demonstrates the Navy’s acceptance of ships bringing in external help to get in shape for inspections — not only because ships’ core crews have gotten smaller, but because crews shrink even more depending on a ship’s place in its deployment cycle, said Bob Butler, deputy fleet maintenance officer for Fleet Forces Command.
I know, we can find a cute yet descriptive name for it. Let me help out some and offer a name: bathtub. We could have a readiness bathtub. A manning bathtub. See, you can have a little graph that looks like a bathtub to explain it to everyone!

Then we can get everyone together to try to mitigate the effects of the "bathtub." Wow, new solutions to new problems! War is new! Maintenance is new! Charmin is new! Teenagers have discovered this thing called s3x! [/sm@rt@ss]

“What this suggests is that optimal manning doesn’t create a situation in which a ship, using only its own assets, can succeed in InSurv,” he said.
San Jacinto didn’t just need extra people to get the ship squared away, according to the message. Ninety days beforehand, officials assessed that the ship needed about $1.5 million in repairs and at least six extra days underway, which later become 10.
The cruiser San Jacinto needed help from 16 commands throughout Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to get ready for its inspection. The commands that shared people and the number of sailors they gave, from 30 to 90 days before the inspection:

Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, 4; carrier Enterprise, 4; cruisers Leyte Gulf, 1; Monterey, 1; Vella Gulf, 2; destroyers Bulkeley, 1; Gravely, 10 people per day for 90 days; Jason Dunham, 10 people per day for two weeks; Ramage, 1; Roosevelt, 1; dock landing ship Carter Hall, 2; amphibious assault ship Nassau, 1; Cruiser Class Squadron, 3; Destroyer Class Squadron, 10 people per day for 90 days; Transient Personnel Unit Norfolk, 10 people per day for 90 days; Navy Reserve: 26 sailors for a total of 511 workdays.
Don't even start with the inability to repair things underway - or deployed either.

I don't know about you - but won't it be a joy to be CO of LCS-1 in 2025?

The sad thing is that all this was known. Optimal manning isn't. Oh, and as Byron will tell you -
Rust Never Sleeps.
UPDATE: A little something I forgot to add that I think is worth pondering.

If we cannot effectively maintain our Fleet with the manning levels we have right now - then how on Earth do we think we can afford a larger Fleet - a properly manned larger Fleet? You are dillusional if you think you can in the present budgetary environment with the priorities and concepts we are working with now.

Of course, we could, ahem, prioritize. There are plenty of BA/NMP out there that is non-value added and do little to anything to contribute to Fleet readiness. How many E1-E5 can you buy for the price of one mid-level SES?

If the purpose of a Navy is to get underway - how many Sailors E1-O6 do we have that have not deployed or been stationed overseas in the last 5-10 years?

Have we really done the job we need to do when it comes to appraising our teeth vs. tail problem? Do we have an efficient Staff structure - or are we bloated with overlapping layers? Do we have a problem in our Navy where we have a huge stable of experienced officers in the ranks of CDR and CAPT who are really just filling non-value added "make work" billets because we don't have a place to put them to sea?

Speaking of shore duty, non-value added billets, non-warfare qualified, and never deploy money sponges; take a hard look at ... yes you know it is coming ... the Navy's Diversity Industry that seems to do little more than create justification for their own existance while feeding senior leadership a bunch of debunked racial theory from the 1960s and 1970s. Plenty of money there to do things like, I don't know, pay for some BM2s.

When it comes to priorities - I would much more prefer to hear the CNO say, "Give Commanding Officers the Sailors they need to properly maintain the taxpayer's capital base." than ... well ... you know.

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