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What is the US Navy’s Plan For Shipbuilding?

What is the US Navy’s Plan For Shipbuilding?

Modern Military | Future Arms & Current News

Last Thursday marked the release of a pivotal Navy-related document by the General Accounting Office (GAO), titled “Navy Shipbuilding: Increased Use of Leading Design Practices Could Improve Timeliness of Deliveries.”

While it may not be the most thrilling read for many, its significance cannot be overstated. The report focuses on the seemingly mundane—processes. Yet, the right processes can be the difference between victory and defeat in warfare, and poor ones can lead to national downfall.

Explaining this might seem challenging, but let’s delve into the report.

From the Introduction:

Importance of the Matter

As global maritime threats evolve, the U.S. Navy is under pressure to accelerate the design and construction of new ships. Since 2009, the GAO has applied top commercial shipbuilding practices to assess Navy shipbuilding projects, leading to numerous recommendations that have prompted improvements in procurement and fiscal efficiency. Despite these advancements, challenges persist in the Navy’s ship design capabilities.

The GAO noted that leading commercial shipbuilders focus on shorter, more predictable design and build times, leading to the timely delivery of ships that align with current needs. In contrast, Navy shipbuilding often involves much longer cycles for initial ships in a program, as shown in a comparison of design and construction timelines between commercial and Navy ships, affecting timely and cost-effective delivery of fully functional ships.

Moreover, technological advances in computing power and digital design over the past 15 years have significantly altered ship design practices. In addition, the GAO’s current study ensures Navy shipbuilding efforts are measured against the most modern and efficient standards.

I’ve long argued for a fundamental overhaul of our cumbersome acquisition system!

One which would require legislative changes—an unlikely scenario given the current congressional climate. Thus, our approach remains incremental.

We have to do what we can and hope it’s enough, though it’s hardly an ideal strategy.

This graphic caught my eye first:

Some may argue comparing commercial ships with warships is like comparing apples to oranges, yet the inclusion of auxiliary oilers provides a meaningful comparison point highlighting the inefficiencies.

Though not specifically mentioned, long-time readers will recognize my ongoing critique of the inefficiencies introduced by Goldwater-Nichols and the so-called Cult of the Joint.

Here’s a brief summary of how this self-serving and obstructive practice hinders progress.

This report is comprehensive, so I’ll spare you the commentary on each section. Grab a coffee, send your calls to voicemail, and dedicate some time to reading this report.

It’s clear that the current methods aren’t working, and the Navy can’t fix them alone. Why not consider the three recommendations made to Congress and the eight proposed for the Navy?

What is the US Navy’s Plan For Shipbuilding?