In response to one of the primary factors behind its readiness shortfalls — lengthy maintenance backlogs of ships, submarines and aircraft — the Navy has taken a number of steps, including relying on private shipyards to a greater extent. The Navy is partnering its shipyards with the private sector to improve efficiency and reduce the backlog and improve productivity, John Pendleton, director of defense capabilities and management for the Government Accountability Office, told the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness and Seapower subcommittees last week. The Navy has put multiple subs in private shipyards to alleviate the capacity problems in the nation’s public shipyards, Pendleton said. In the past three years the Navy has reduced lost days to maintenance in its own shipyards by 11 percent, reported Defense.gov.
The Navy also has accelerated efforts to hire and train new public shipyard workers. The workforce at its shipyards has increased from 34,918 in fiscal 2017 to 36,696 in FY 2018, allowing it to meet its FY 2020 goal of 36,100 workers one year early. Other actions taken to rebuild readiness include:
- increasing funding by $1.1 billion for ship maintenance, enabling ships to begin deployment training on time with improved materiel condition and modernized combat, communications and engineering systems;
- accelerating ship acquisition, procuring 22 battle force ships from FY 2017-2018, and decommissioning nine ships; and
- using commercial best practices to increase efficiency and flow in maintenance facilities to return ships, subs and aircraft to the fleet quicker.
Navy photo by Kelley Stirling