Professional Notes

We spent two weeks discussing the finer points of Dr. Deming's "Total Quality" program, and were exposed to numerous definitions and buzz words that signaled Total Quality. Interesting to note, the entire course easily could have been presented to the middle-management group of any Fortune 500 company. The only relevance to the U.S. Navy was that the facilitator usually was a post-department head lieutenant or lieutenant commander.

We were provided with the subjects for each lesson well in advance to enable us to form some early opinions on the upcoming topics, which included: Quality (four hours), Interpersonal Relationships (three hours), and Change (two hours). Our class referred to the course fondly as Sea Stories 101 (SS-101).

Initially, many resented spending a complete day talking about motivation. After all, we were prospective surface department heads; if we couldn't motivate people, we wouldn't be where we were. In the end, I realized that the value came from the class participation, not the lesson. The facilitator often became a referee/mediator, and I think we left each day with a better understanding of our upcoming field of responsibility and some good tools-based not on the lecture, but on the earlier successes and failures of our peers.

We heard that the Basic Officer Leadership Course was not as successful. I can vaguely remember it from my time at the Division Officer Course. It was difficult to maintain interest in what was then called Naval Leadership. I don't think that the present situation indicates a lack of professionalism among the ensigns; I think rather that it indicates an understandable inability to relate what they are hearing with what they have experienced. It seems obvious that learning is improved when knowledge can be related to common experiences. If the basic curriculum can relate its data to high school politics and college relationships, the knowledge can be transferred, although it would not be as relevant to the their upcoming assignment.

Each level of the leadership continuum features similar material adapted for the audience. I would say that the Senior Leadership Course is probably the most informative, based on the experiences of the students. Maybe ensigns could be motivated by serving as assistant facilitators during such a course. I'm sure there is not a department head in the fleet who would have turned down the chance to spend two weeks "learning leadership" by swapping stories with future commanding officers. Junior officer concerns could reach the upper leadership in a more informal setting. Surface Warfare Officers would jump at the chance to discuss concerns in a schoolhouse environment, where dirty laundry can be aired and fitness reports are not an issue.

One aspect of leadership caused a continuing sharp pain in my side—the questions that we as SWOs seem to dwell on:

  • Who are we?
  • Where have we been?
  • Where are we going?

These are questions usually reserved for the Surface Warfare Command Course and senior leaders, but I think I may have some insights.

To find out where we've been, look at Raymond Spruance and Arleigh Burke, who have done so much to shape warfare, and others like Metcalf and Flanagan, who introduced innovation and alternative ways of thinking. And how about lesser-known officers who have provided the surface navy with tools to help us do our job? Consider the officer on the Barry (DDG-52) several years ago who developed the COMPASS MicroSoft data base that eased our administrative burden significantly.

The question of where we are going today is based almost entirely on resources. We cannot say where we are going unless we know how much will be required to get us there. How many ships? How many sailors? How complicated the systems? Unfortunately, the money people at the Pentagon tell us where we are going; they punch the numbers. Programs like Smart Ship (see "Working Smarter on Board the Yorktown," Proceedings , February 1997, pages 58-59.) were created to answer the number-crunchers who have no idea of how much it costs to take ships to sea. I am not here to debate whether the Arsenal Ship, Surface Combatant 21, the LPD-17, ADC(X), and other shipbuilding programs are important. Each has its merits. But we SWOs must realize that bankers and financial planners are determining our future.

Finally, who are we? Consider the other warfare areas. The aviator must spend two years learning to fly and operate a complicated machine; a submariner spends two years learning to operate the propulsion plant of a highly complicated machine; SEALS learn to do those things that SEALS do and can't talk about; Surface Warfare Officers spend six to nine months in school and then go to sea in charge of between two and two dozen enlisted sailors.

Most real SWO learning is on-the-job training, plus what can be learned from shipmates. Motivation can be tied to two areas:

  • Amount of responsibility
  • Complexity of the job

My take is that people succeed when they enjoy their jobs, which in turn is related directly to pride in their own abilities, their subordinates' abilities, and the condition of their equipment.

Pride in an organization can be related to selectivity. SEALS are proud of their community because they know that not everyone can be a SEAL. When I ask surface officers if they are proud of their SWO pin, the response often is "No, but I'm sure proud of my officer of the deck/engineering officer of the watch/command duty officer/tactical action officer letters."

It makes you wonder: "Who are we?" When I see an aviator with a SWO pin I wonder with which community the officer identifies. I'd bet the answer would be "pilot," The only officer that I have ever seen with wings and dolphins, Admiral Charles R. Larson, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, is clearly a rarity. How many SWOs also are pilots or submariners or SEALs? None.

This leads me to believe that the pin is not the symbol of our pride. We take pride in planning amphibious assaults; in maneuvering large vessels in tight quarters; in knowing the intricacies of the Aegis weapon system; and in knowing that we can operate our 600-psi steam plant with our eyes closed; and that we can motivate a 19-year-old U.S. sailor to sacrifice sleep for days on end. Motivation, quality, and relationships are what make us proud to be SWOs. But how do we learn how to do this? We learn from those who have gone before us. We learn in classes called Sea Stories 101. They just like to call it TQL to get our juices flowing.

Senior officers have spent the last several years streamlining the SWO qualification program because it is so long. As I sit here at the Surface Warfare Center of Excellence, other possibilities arise: Make graduation from the Division Officer Course a prerequisite for wearing the SWO pin, and give it to all graduates immediately after they complete the course.

This may seem petty, but pride starts at home. The fleet qualification is challenging, and the SWO pin should not be just something to hang on your uniform. We should be the officers who ensure that our people are taken care of, that our equipment runs correctly, and that we know our jobs. The Marines talk about "the Few, the Proud ...." Well, Surface Warfare Officers have a lot to be proud of, too.

There are lots of SWOs in the Navy—31% of the unrestricted line—and we need to talk about who we are. After all, someday one of us might become the banker who gets to decide where we are going.

Lieutenant Morrison is slated to be the Weapons Officer of the USS Gonzalez (DDG-66).

 

The Coast Guard and Russia: Saving Lives and Resources

By Lieutenant John M. Fitzgerald, U.S. Coast Guard

Treat your friend as if he will one day be your enemy, and your enemy as if he will one day be your friend. Laberius [105 - 43 B.C.]

In the spring of 1988, I was assigned to the Coast Guard cutter Midgett (WHEC-726), a high-endurance cutter homeported in Alameda, California. I was the ship's antisubmarine warfare officer and I was up to speed on the power, capabilities, and tactics of our most feared enemy, the Soviet Union.

We had just finished an exhaustive search for seven missing walrus hunters who lived on St. Lawrence Island in the north Bering Sea. For ten days, Coast Guard, Alaskan state, and National Guard aircraft—directed by the Midgett —searched thousands of miles of ocean looking for some sign of hope.

My first experience with the Russians was memorable. As our search aircraft scoured the ocean, one approached what was then called the "disputed zone" that existed along the U.S.-Soviet boundary. Our air-search radar picked up two high-speed contacts approaching from the west; even though the Soviets had been informed of our ongoing search, they would not tolerate an incursion into their airspace. The search aircraft quickly reversed course, to avoid a confrontation with the two Soviet fighters—so much for glasnost and perestroika . (Several days after the search for the missing walrus hunters was suspended, we received word that all seven had returned safely to St. Lawrence Island, after spending most of that time adrift in Russian waters.)

Six Alaskan patrols and nine years later, I find myself back in Alaska where little has changed—except for our relationship with the Russians. While there is still a sense of caution in dealing with the former Soviet state, there is an assertive effort focusing on cooperation.

Nowhere is this more evident than at the Coast Guard's Seventeenth District ourselves as a model of government by being innovative and efficient. Therefore, it is imperative that we foster this relationship with the Russians," said Captain Norman Edwards, Jr., District chief of staff.

Captain Edwards, a 28-year veteran and former high-endurance cutter commanding officer, also can recall when the Russians were always the most-feared threat. But he too, realizes things are no longer the same. "In the last ten years, the world has changed dramatically and we've had to change with it," he said.

The Coast Guard always has tried to foster good working relationships with both the maritime industry and foreign governments. Now it is trying to develop a partnership with a nation that was America's adversary for over forty years, he added. Politics aside, many other factors have led the Coast Guard to pursue a stronger alliance with the Russians.

First, there is the Russian infrastructure. There are no superhighways in the rural Russian Far East. Virtually everything is transported by water and their economy relies heavily on maritime shipping, according to Commander Gerry Donohoe, U.S. Coast Guard, the district's representative at a search and rescue exercise held in Khabarovsk, Russia, last fall. Consequently, as these areas start to develop, the volume of maritime traffic in the North Pacific will increase. Both the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia are situated along great circle routes between North America and Asia.

Second, there is the "American customer." As capitalism continues to develop roots in the Russian economy, a greater number of U.S. industries will want to tap into the undeveloped Russian Far East market—whether it be airlines and cruise ships heading to Russia from the United States or petroleum companies exploring the Russian continental shelf. Russia has the potential to become a global economic force.

In addition, driving international cooperation is a common resource that observes no boundaries: fish. "We have a substantial maritime border in the Bering Sea which cuts across some of the richest fishing grounds in the world," said Captain Vincent O'Shea, Seventeenth District chief of operational planning and policy.

Both nations also have salmon stocks that spend their life in the high seas growing to maturity before returning to their country of origin to spawn. Therefore, both countries have a mutual interest in ensuring those fish are not harvested by other nations, he added.

As a result, the Coast Guard has concentrated its efforts with the Russians in two areas: search and rescue and fisheries management.

While the Coast Guard is a multi-mission service, saving lives at sea always has been its top priority. The Seventeenth District is responsible for all search and rescue operations (SAR) in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and North Pacific Ocean—some of the world's roughest waters. The district conducts nearly 1,200 such missions every year throughout this vast area. With the potential for more maritime activity, the district sees cooperation between the two nations as vital to the success of search and rescue in one of the harshest and most remote regions of the world.

Both sides have fairly comparable equipment for search and rescue, said Donohoe, who also is the assistant chief of the district's maritime response branch.

The Russians operate long- and short-range fixed wing aircraft as well as short-range helicopters. They use a deployable rescue boat for long-range SAR. The boat's crew is strapped into astronaut-like seats and then the boat is jettisoned from the aircraft. The 30-foot, single-engine aluminum boat then deploys a parachute as it descends to the ocean, according to Donohoe who saw the deployment at the recent SAR exercise.

While there is a direct line between the Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau and the Russian Rescue Coordination Center in Vladivostok, communications between the Coast Guard and the Northeastern Border Guard in Petropavlovsk could stand improvement.

"The number one problem is physical communications," said Lieutenant Commander Kim Sullivan, the Coast Guard's Russia Liaison Officer assigned to the district staff. Calling on the telephone is near impossible. The Northeastern Border District has only one usable international phone line. Other obstacles include a poor mail system, the time difference and, of course, language barriers, said Sullivan.

To help improve communications with the Northeastern Border Guard, the district's principal working partner in Russia, the Coast Guard has turned to technology. In June, the district established a Russian data link, using the Internet. Situated on a stand-alone computer in the district's command center, the link allows for almost instantaneous e-mail communications between SAR controllers in the U.S. and Russia. While the computer is used strictly for e-mail communications, the goal is to have SAR plans and search grids passed through this link, said Lieutenant Ray Engblom, Supervisor, Electronic Systems Support Unit Detachment, Juneau.

Economic and political instability also have hampered the cooperative effort. Inflation is up and resources are scarce. Last year, a fuel shortage limited Russian participation at an international SAR exercise. Politically, the government seems to be undergoing constant change. There is a great deal of posturing for position as a new government establishes itself, said Donohoe. "Consequently, we don't know where to focus our efforts," he added.

Progress is being made, however. In August, the district established Sullivan's Russia Liaison job. Besides being a communications link, Sullivan plays a pivotal role in coordinating operations and planning. This past fall, he spent a month in Russia learning about Russian operations and basic Russian philosophy concerning SAR and fisheries. More important, he learned who the main points of contact were at the Northeastern Border Guard. The district now knows who to contact when emergencies arise and where it should concentrate its efforts while formulating new plans.

While SAR remains one of the Coast Guard's most visible and important missions in Alaska, fisheries enforcement also is vital, although less publicized. As catcher fleets become more efficient and fishing seasons become shorter, both nations have come to realize that cooperative enforcement is the critical element in successfully managing this delicate resource.

Eventually, the district would like to develop a working relationship with the Russians that is similar to the arrangement between the United States and Canada. "Not only do we cooperate closely in sharing patrol information, schedules and professional exchanges, but our governments [United States and Canada] have formally adopted a cooperative fisheries enforcement agreement," said O'Shea.

This agreement allows for more efficient and effective enforcement, for it has removed the need to apprehend vessels fleeing from enforcement authorities. Under the agreement, evidence is forwarded to the flag country and the poachers are confronted upon arrival in port, according to O'Shea. "That is where we need to be with the Russians, some day in the future," he said. Although orientation visits and preliminary talks have been successful so far, the fisheries planning staff at the district also is faced with obstacles. The Border Guard's lack of fuel has limited its patrols to the Sea of Okhotsk and the Kurile Islands, which affects its ability to operate in areas where the Coast Guard has a greater interest

Also, the Coast Guard works hard to ensure that its efforts support and are coordinated with other stake holders in the fisheries issues such as managers, fishers and industry, said O'Shea. "A joint enforcement agreement would not happen until there was the political will on both sides to accept the compromises inherent in such an arrangement. Such an agreement would have to be negotiated by our State Department in close consultation with the Senate and the U.S. fishing industry," he added.

In spite of these hurdles, O'Shea remains optimistic. He is encouraged by the Russians' willingness to share information and to participate in fisheries planning meetings and professional exchange programs.

During the course of the next year, the district hopes to get a Russian enforcement vessel to participate in a joint patrol in the "doughnut hole"—a 50,000 square-mile area in the North Bering Sea that lies in international waters between the exclusive economic zones of both nations. Neither nation has exclusive law enforcement authority in this area, but most major fishing nations have signed a moratorium on fishing there. Thus, the Coast Guard and the Russian Border Guard have a responsibility to patrol this area to ensure compliance.

Although some people remain skeptical, Coast Guard personnel in Alaska are confident that they can make this relationship work. Many of the political, economic and physical difficulties will take time to overcome, but the biggest question remains the intangible one of trust. To show their commitment to this project, the Seventeenth District Commander, Rear Admiral Ernest Riutta, U.S. Coast guard, and the commander of the Northeastern Border District, Lieutenant General Vitaly F. Gritsan have visited each other in an effort to pave the way for formal plans.

"I think we will ultimately achieve all of our goals of cooperation simply because we live in a world of limited resources . . of all kinds . . . fisheries, patrol capabilities, management expertise, scientific research, etc. To make the best use of those resources, we need to cooperate and share wherever we can," said O'Shea. "While I never thought I would see the day, I'm glad we've reached this threshold. I think we are beginning to see the groundwork for a new era of cooperation in which Americans will be safer on the high seas and their resources will be better protected. That is and always has been the Coast Guard's ultimate goal," added Edwards.

Lieutenant Fitzgerald is the chief of public affairs for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska. A 1987 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, he has served on board the cutters Midgett (WHEC-726) and Hamilton (WHEC-715), and commanded the Loran Station, Kure Island, Hawaii.

 

Weather Guessing Goes High-Tech

By Commander James A. McNitt, U.S. Naval Reserve

Weather forecasters at the Predator unmanned airborne vehicle site at Taszar, Hungary, are exploiting new software to retrieve meteorological products from around the world, including highresolution satellite imagery from ships in the Adriatic Sea.

The operator-created synchronized pictures of the operational picture include the weather conditions, the Predator track, local geography and areas of interest, location of military units, and the latest image of cloud cover. Navy forecasters are providing the meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) element of situational awareness while the Predator provides the reconnaissance element.

The Meteorology and Oceanography Systems Program Office in the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Directorate at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command developed the METOC software segment for the Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS)—the Navy's keystone command-and-control program—which then folded the METOC software into the system. JMCIS needs meteorological information to assess the impact on platform and sensor performance, which is integral to optimizing tactical decisions. Safety is another reason; most of the JMCIS-equipped ships and all the command centers routinely receive overlays that display hazardous conditions such as high seas warnings. The benefits for joint operations have been evident.

All of this is important. Joint Vision 2010, published by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicates that dominant battlespace awareness is the Department of Defense goal. Although a number of acquisition programs are making progress toward this goal, the challenge is to develop and execute a systems architecture that supports coherence among sensor, database, processor, and communications systems. There is a need for a broad conceptual architecture that integrates systems that provide battlespace awareness and connectivity with systems that apply military force—what Admiral William Owens called the "system of systems."

Contribution to the system of systems will likely become the discriminator among programs that are successful and others that are not. These days, the threat is not driving programming decisions as much as the necessity to respond to national policy within the budget, while planning for the force of the future.

To extend meteorological and oceanographic information to the joint warfighter, the Navy is providing the joint segment for the Global Command and Control System (GCCS). End users require timely and accurate data to assess the impact of current and forecasted conditions on military operations. Assessments must be done continuously and correctly to optimize force protection. Last August, the Navy demonstrated this capability during the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration when it deployed prototypes to six GCCS sites, including the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3).

Joint Warrior, a technology demonstration held annually, is concerned with advanced technologies supported by the Joint Staff. The Army and the U.S. Central Command hosted last years demonstration, one of whose objectives was to exchange information using GCCS. The Navy achieved this objective with the Joint METOC Segment. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command installed the segment software on a variety of desk top and portable work stations, which all used a common desktop environment provided by TriTeal of Carlsbad, California; this product is the common desktop environment for the GCCS common operating environment.

During the demonstration, the segment provided meteorological and oceanographic information as both image and graphic products for display in GCCS. During a simulated amphibious landing near Ocean City, Maryland, for example, the segment operator on the Kearsarge provided information about the operational impacts of forecasted surf conditions, beach slope, surface winds, swell, and wave height to the Commander, Naval Forces. The Kearsarge also transmitted meteorological information as overlays to other sites, including allies and coalition partners.

Vice Admiral Walter J. Davis, Jr., U.S. Navy, Director, Space and Electronic Warfare, and Lieutenant General Otto J. Guenther, U.S. Army, Director of Army Information Systems, noted these achievements during their visit to the Kearsarge . Both called the Navy METOC capability a welcome addition to the joint war-fighters tool kit for managing information, and evaluators recommended that the Joint METOC segment be fielded as soon as possible. One of the more important observations during last year's demonstration was that the warfighter needs better visualization tools for the geo-physical battlespace. Conventional weather maps and forecasts do not describe adequately the operational impact of METOC conditions.

Adding this capability to the systems directed by the Defense Information Systems Agency also will help in monitoring a developing crisis. In addition to image and graphics products, the segment will provide information for other command-and-control applications. The information is derived from a number of Defense Department, national, and international sensors, databases, and processors. Weather balloons from Navy ships, Air Force weather units, and Army artillery units, for example, all are possible data sources for upper-air observations to assist in assessing chemical-biological agent dispersion.

Concurrent with deployment of the new command-and-control system, the Commanders-in-Chief (CinCs) and the Joint Staff are developing a concept of operations for use of the common operational picture (COP). A CinC would designate the common tactical picture and selected overlays as the COP for use by all involved in a given operation. This would be interoperable with all data and command systems. METOC will be included.

The Global Command and Control System provides a good example of the way to build and use a business plan. The governing architecture for software systems within the Department of Defense is the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment. Within this framework, the Defense Information Systems Agency manages the implementation of the GCCS and the Global Combat Support System (GCSS). It is an open systems architecture that provides for shared data, use of the common tactical picture, and connectivity. As GCCS business partners, applications developers, such as the developers of the Joint METOC Segment, are in a stronger position than they would be otherwise in the Pentagon's Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System because of the clear and well-defined implementation path.

The genesis for a joint architecture with which to achieve dominant battlespace awareness exists in the collection of programs, including GCCS, that fall under command and control, communications, computers, intelligence (C41) and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The evolving technology, principally from industry, is driving the systems development time lines. Commercial sources for information technology have proved more cost effective for the armed forces than systems specified to military standards, and the Pentagon relies upon commercial sources for most of its information technology. The challenge for the services is to acquire the technology with progressively declining budgets. The risks, however, are manageable if the services employ tradeoff analyses and encourage participation in technology demonstrations.

Within the Navy the Copernicus Architecture is an excellent example of the way one resource sponsor made programming decisions based on revolutionary technology. When Vice Admiral Jerry O. Tuttle assumed responsibility for Navy Space and Electronic Warfare programs in the late 1980s, many of the programs were in trouble. He convinced the Navy's executive board that his collective resources would support a single open systems architecture. Vice Admiral Tuttle provided the Croesus Strategies, which described the methodology to converge ten command-and-control, communications, computers, and intelligence programs into a single system using a common programming model. Within this strategy and the associated Copernicus Architecture, Vice Admiral Tuttle focused Navy resources on the Joint Maritime Command Information System.

The Institute for National Strategic Studies describes three heuristic force structure models for the next decade. The Accelerated Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) model assumes that the military force will be restructured around revolutionary technology. By deciding now which systems will compose the system of systems, and how these systems will contribute, the Defense Department could start phasing out systems and infrastructure that do not contribute to the new force structure. The resultant cost savings could cover the costs of acquiring the system of systems and provide the technology required to achieve dominant battlespace awareness.

There also are good examples available for making decisions based on revolutionary technology and for managing a systems architecture. There are programs, such as METOC, that are contributing to battlespace awareness. To achieve dominant battlespace awareness with the system of systems, a larger number of sensors, databases, and processors within the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs funded by all the services must be integrated with the command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence information systems in a more cohesive joint architecture than is available today. This challenge can be met in time with the right mix of technology and force structure. The issue is how and when to pay for it.

Commander McNitt is Vice President of Integrated Performance Decisions, Inc., in Arlington, Virginia, where he heads the communications and connectivity business unit that assisted in the development of the Joint METOC segment. His reserve billet is with the U.S. Atlantic Command.

 

The LPD-17: Acquisition Reform's First Test

By Edwin R. Mullen

The LPD-17 contract award marks the Navy's first major move in acquisition reform. The New Acquisition policy, based on then Secretary of Defense William Perry's 1994 call for reform, is aimed at reducing the total ownership life cycle-costs.

One of the first steps was to eliminate all but the necessary few military specifications (MIL Specs) previously mandated by the Naval Sea Systems Command. The LPD-17 Program Office was successful in this regard—only a handful of the original 1500+ government references remain as part of the required specifications. Another goal was to enhance the design-to-build process by requiring a variant of concurrent engineering to streamline and optimize the design and approval process with integrated product teams. 1

Eliminating MIL Specs and using product teams are critical to the Navy's intent to reduce construction and operating costs. As emphasized by several highlevel speakers at the Naval Institute's Naval Warfare Symposium in Norfolk, Virginia, last September, approximately 60% of the defense budget is spent on operating and maintenance costs, leaving little for modernization. Consequently, the LPD-17 program office identified life-cycle costs as the driving factor for the contract, won by the Avondale Shipyard last December.

While lowest life-cycle costs may be the desired result, care must be taken to ensure that the data is useful, supportable, and pertinent. The new acquisition reform process has passed its first major test, but the ultimate test—the final costs borne by the Navy and the taxpayer—must be carefully resolved before a final grade is posted.

The LPD-17 Request for Proposal (RFP) stressed that the key basis of award was the overall "best value" to the Government, i.e., the proposal that offered the lowest ownership cost 2 . The desired result was to develop ways to make complex trade-off decisions, and to monitor continually the effects of the decisions on life-cycle costs. Consequently, the process of reducing ownership costs would be a living process, constantly monitored throughout the life of the LPD-17 class.

The decision was not based upon lowest acquisition cost, but on the Navy's best value as perceived on an ownership basis, which reaffirmed the Navy's commitment to life-cycle costs.

Certainly, a life-cycle cost model for shipbuilding is based upon numerous assumptions and variables, and there are strong incentives for equipment suppliers to provide data that will produce their desired end result (read sales). It behooves the Navy to be skeptical of such data until confirmed, but the right software can help the Navy and prime contractor perform these tasks throughout the subcontracting selection process, and track the results over time.

Life-cycle cost concerns provide strong incentives to Department of Defense hardware manufacturers. The main propulsion diesel engine evaluations exemplify the new methodology employed in the evaluation process. The LPD-17 RFP included a Life Cycle Cost Estimate form as an outline of some of the major cost drivers in the diesel engine life-cycle cost estimates. The use of this form-required by the Navy-forced bidders to take a critical look at these items; among them:

  • Reduce consumables, e.g., fuel oil and lube oil consumption
  • Reduce manpower requirements
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Implement the Integrated Condition  Assessment System (ICAS) and the Ship Wide Area Network (SWAN)
  • Consider commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components
  • Reduce training and logistic support costs (Navy shore based infrastructure)

The effort to respond to this at times created more questions than firm answers, and critical issues remain that require Navy direction. The modeling process, however, helped weigh current vs. future trends in a dynamic environment.

The vendors responded. Typical input required by vendors included:

  • Hardware selling price
  • Estimated lube and fuel oil consumption estimates
  • Weight estimates
  • Spare parts requirements
  • Estimated part lifetimes
  • Technical manuals and other logistic support

In the case of the engine, there were many other factors:

  • Unmanned engine rooms with engines that incorporate advanced maintenance concepts. This includes the provision for trend analysis to show potential faults before an alarm. Monitoring engines with embedded sensors, to provide historical trending analysis, can optimize maintenance for the reliability and availability desired (using expert based, fuzzy logic). 3
  • A maintenance contract to guarantee future parts and maintenance costs. This could be a separate parts-only contract (guaranteed future pricing), or combined parts-and-service contract as typical for the cruise-ship industry. A commercial parts inventory and service network which is readily available to the US Navy would reduce the Navy's shorebased infrastructure, in keeping with the Clinton administration's goals for acquisition reform.
  • Advanced training concepts such as multimedia software, together with a knowledge-based expert system to assist in on-board training. This offers great promise for the LPD-17. A supplier-supported test site could be made available to the Navy. Periodic training could be conducted at a day/usage rate, potentially offering significant savings compared with the cost to maintain and operate Navy-funded land-based test facilities.
  • Maintenance planning that results in reduced manpower. A maintenance plan that effectively provides improvement over planned maintenance systems (up to 30%) 4 would help. The Navy's Smart Ship program on USS Yorktown, and Integrated Condition Assessment System is moving toward these advanced concepts, which are commercially available to a great extent today. 5 (See Figure 1).

Methods used to respond to the RFP were both objective, as in the case of hardware, and very subjective in other areas—which highlights the need for both government and prime-contractor involvement in the team decision process. Many critical factors could not be answered prior to contract award.

Obviously, this creates potential for pitfalls. Here are some of the concerns:

Fuel and lubricating oil price must reflect current market price. This is a very important factor over a lifetime. If incorrect pricing is used, results may overcompensate against other areas of potential savings over the 40-year life of the ship. The vendor must be held liable for the accuracy of the data.

Neither the RFP nor life-cycle cost analysis provided answers on the Navy manpower required to maintain equipment. The impact of built-in test and monitoring equipment in unmanned spaces was not considered, for example. As ship's personnel account for approximately 37% of overall total Navy ship life-cycle costs 6 —as much as 64.7% for a destroyer 7 —the reduction in personnel will have a significant impact on costs. (See Figure 2.) The weighting factors for the life-cycle cost analysis should reflect more closely that of the actual life-cycle costs experienced by the fleet. This critical analysis will have a major impact in the ultimate ownership cost to the Navy.

The impact of having an electronic technical manual and expert knowledge-based system coupled with an embedded computer training program should be evaluated with respect to personnel and training savings. The LM2500 System with expert computer-based, on-board training tools has generated savings as high as 33% in shore-based personnel training. 8 Given the desire to reduce manning from approximately 350 to 100 personnel on Surface Combatant 21, and very limited crew size on the Arsenal Ship, for example, training at sea should be considered a life-cycle cost necessity for any new acquisition program, and its development must be accurately accounted for in the LCC analysis. 9

There is a clear department of Defense trend toward commercially supported parts. The Navy cannot afford to stockpile non-commercial designs for long-term programs, and this relates directly to design flexibility and the projected marketability of the equipment. Outdated, unique equipment is expensive and difficult to replace. 10 Two of the four fundamental principles for the LPD-17 are "technically adaptable" [upgrades] supportable . . . throughout the life of the ship [40 years]." 11 Accordingly, due consideration should be given to this critical issue in the life-cycle cost analysis.

Supplier-based training. Base closings are a reality, and there is strong impetus to shift the responsibility for training centers to major equipment suppliers. This has consistently proven effective for both cost and design upgrade considerations (to stay current with technology), and in fact may prove more beneficial re: ownership costs for supplier-based test sites than existing Navy-funded training facilities. Careful trade-offs should be conducted in this regard in a vendor-evaluation process.

The parts pricing and maintenance program should be well defined and accountable. Parts pricing should be directly tied to the component lifetime projected, and this should be justified with historical data, or with guaranteed future parts' prices. In commercial practice, for example, contracts are offered that guarantee parts' lifetimes, or the part price is reduced according to the reduced life experienced in operation. This analysis should be an integral part of the life-cycle cost study for programs like the LPD-17.

Beginning with the LPD-17, the U.S. Navy is attempting to transfer some of the risk associated with ship design to the private sector, similar in some respects to our allies in Great Britain. 12 Issues such as those identified above, however, will need Navy guidance on direction and weighting of very critical factors in the life-cycle cost estimations. The decisions made by the Navy and shipyard team within the team environment will set the pace for either the large steps (or quantum leaps of faith) needed to make the transition true to the ideals of acquisition reform, or they will produce the same small steps taken within the footprints of past Government programs—when a 600 ship Navy was still a reality, and an umbrella of protection surrounded our shipbuilding industry.

The trend toward reducing defense budgets and the hope of the U.S. shipbuilding industry to compete in the world marketplace demand many changes. While the New Acquisition Reform initiative is not a panacea, but in many respects it is a catalyst to change, providing groundwork and direction. The LPD-17 program is attempting to lead by example, and it is apparent that its actions underpin its intentions. The life-cycle cost models and the commercial relevance of the data input will be key factors in the ultimate success demonstrated for both LPD-17 and the defense industry in general.

1 A Revolution in Warship Design: Navy-Industry Integrated Product Teams", Keane and Tibbits, presented at the 1996 Ship Production Symposium in San Diego, California, February 1996.

2 Warrior Friendly," RAdm. Leonard F. Picotte, USN (Ret) and Capt. Maurice Gauthier, USN, Proceedings, June 1996, pp. 38-41.

3 "A Hybrid Implicit/Explicit Automated Reasoning Approach for Condition-Based Maintenance", by Dr. A. Garka, presented at the Intelligent Ships Symposium, November 1996.

4 "Navy Proactive Maintenance", by C.P. Hedderich, Presented at the ASNE Fleet Maintenance Symposium, October 1995.

5 "Communication Needs in Engine Maintenance", by Ahlqvist and Fagelklo, Presented at the 1996 Ship Production Symposium, San Diego, California, February 1996.

6 Figure I adapted from a presentation by Dr. T. McKenna, Office of Naval Research, 23 January 1996.

7 "Naval Ship Affordability," by Dr. Dean Rains, Naval Engineers Journal, July 1996.

8 "Improving Maintenance and Streamlining the Training Pipeline", by Cdr. Alligood, presented at the Second Annual International Logistics Symposium, 1994.

9 "Continuous Learning At Sea", by D. Phillips, Presented at the Intelligent Ships Symposium, November 1996.

10 "Engineering Off-the-Shelf Solutions- A Life-Cycle View," by Doug Belair and Mike Eagan, Naval Engineers Journal, May 1996.

11 "LPD-17: In the Midst of Reform," Fireman, Fowler, McIntire and Wilkins, Naval Engineers Journal, May 1995.

12 "Designing and Buying Warships: France, Great Britain, and the United States," by Larrie Ferreiro, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings March 1997, pp. 57-60.

Mr. Mullen is the General Manager for Government Systems at Wartsila Diesel, which is competing for the LPD-17 main propulsion and ship service diesel generator contract. 

 

 
 

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