Navy is taking steps to streamline operations and come up with new ways of doing business so product/activity support functions can be modernised in real time to increase readiness, lethality and efficiency.
Complexity of our distribution network is too great for effective administrative tracking, and this in turn leads to challenges with knowing the location and condition of all the parts and equipment we own. We move resources internally too many times before it arrives in the hands of the troops who actually perform the work.
Readiness recovery objectives are enabled by predictive battlefield tracking. Right now, battlefield tracking is a very isolated set of observations. But if you could aggregate those observations together you would have a much better sense of predicting where something might be going.
We will look at operational data, sorties, the history of the part, was there repair work done on it before to preposition parts and maintainers to make fast repairs or modifications not only in response to what the aircraft has been through but what it’s about to go through as well.
F-35 program has not so far improved its reliability and maintainability over the past year and continued to fall short on half of its performance targets. The program may not meet its required targets before each variant of the F-35 is expected to demonstrate maturity—the point at which the aircraft has flown enough hours to predictably determine reliability and maintainability over its lifespan.
Navy and the Marine Corps may have to decide whether they are willing to accept less reliable and maintainable aircraft than originally planned. Among other outcomes, this could result in higher maintenance costs and lower aircraft availability than anticipated which also could pose readiness challenges in the future.
Many sustainment challenges have lead to less than desirable outcomes for F-35 warfighter readiness. For example, many F-35 aircraft were unable to fly because of parts shortages.
DoD capabilities to repair F-35 parts at military depots were years behind schedule, which resulted in average part repair times that are twice that of the program objectives
Depot maintenance on aging weapon systems, including Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, becomes less predictable as structural fatigue occurs and parts that were not expected to be replaced begin to wear out.
Sustainment funding accounts for depot maintenance and spare parts were funded at increased levels in 2018, but efforts to improve spare parts availability take time to produce results due to long lead times for acquiring some items. In addition, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft face challenges associated with diminishing manufacturing sources and parts obsolescence
As DoD gains experience with the F-35, the department has encountered additional challenges. DoD expects to disperse its F-35s into smaller detachments to outmanoeuvre adversaries, but this approach poses logistics and supply challenges.
Challenges posed by the F-35 program are largely the result of sustainment plans that do not fully include or consider key requirements. Planning for sustainment and aligning its funding are critical if DoD wants to meet its aircraft availability goals and effectively deploy to support operations.
DoD must revise its sustainment plans, align associated funding, and mitigate the risks associated with key supply chain-related challenges for deployed F-35s. test operating the F-35 disconnected from its Autonomic Logistics Information System [ALIS] for extended periods of time in a variety of scenarios to assess the risks related to operating and sustaining the aircraft, and determine how to mitigate any identified risks.
The root causes of our problems were mistakes resulting from deviation from established watch standards, direction, practices, and procedures, and we are addressing how our watch teams are planning, practicing, and executing safe navigation practices. That being said, the problems also brought to light questions the Navy and the surface force must address, particularly regarding the balance between the production and consumption of readiness at the force level.
Two essential processes are at work in today’s surface force: the production of readiness and the consumption of readiness. No matter where a ship is homeported, its either generating readiness through maintenance, modernisation, and training or consuming it with operations at sea.
The production of readiness is a function of many inputs tied closely to available resources. These inputs include proper manning and manpower on our ships—both the right number of people and the right skill sets; sufficient manning in shore-based training organisations, again, in both numbers and skills; a robust maintenance support function; regularly scheduled modernisation; and properly manned and resourced command and oversight organisations.
In each case, there were notable deviations from standard operating procedures. Do such deviations occur as the result of systemic failures in the production of surface ship readiness at a force level? If so, how? What is the transmission path of the error that begins as a mismatch of supply and demand resources at the fleet level and ends up with a qualified officer of the deck not making required reports to the commanding officer?
This question is difficult, if not impossible, to answer, because the “dots” do not necessarily connect.
Regardless of whether a systemic failure is demonstrated across the fleet, we must be critical of all the policies, procedures, and workshops we use to man, train, and equip the fleet. This is a complex process and requires coordination across the Navy to ensure both unit-level proficiency and force-level support are improved to achieve the readiness and warfighting proficiency our nation demands and Troops deserve.
Inconsistencies and gaps were found in the configuration control and oversight of bridge navigation systems and in leadership ability to identify, mitigate, and accept risks, and then learn rapidly from near-miss events and other problems; in personnel, gaps were identified in the qualification and proficiency of the surface force in navigation; and in facilities, gaps were identified in the shiphandling trainers and associated shore-based infrastructure in place to support training for seamanship and safe navigation at sea.
The after action review categorises operational gaps in the following key areas or tenets:
Fundamentals. Basic skills such as seamanship and navigation, rigor in individual qualification processes, proficiency, and adherence to existing standards.
Teamwork. The extent to which the surface force deliberately builds and sustains teams, and whether they are tested with realistic and challenging scenarios.
Operational Quality. The process and tools by which ships are made ready for tasking, ships are employed, and technology is used to safely operate at sea.
Assessment. The extent to which ships and headquarters plan, critically self-assess, generate actionable lessons learned, and share knowledge across the force.
Key findings and recommendations of the reports are intended to instill the needed capabilities and proficiencies to make the surface force safer and more effective. The conclusions contained in the report are an important start to inject vitality and reestablish warfighting excellence on a base of sound and fundamental competence.
To address deficiencies in readiness, the surface force is pursuing the several initiatives. Some are under way, and some are undergoing additional shaping before implementation. In addition to addressing some of the big-picture systemic issues, we seek to build better Troops through additional targeted training, and a reemphasis on the quality of surface warfare.
Design commonality among our ships is far greater than the unit-level differences, yet every commanding officer instills their own set of standing orders to watchstanders, battle orders that specify the configuration and operation of the ship combat system, and a doctrine for how the engineering plant is operated under conditions known as “restricted manoeuvre to include underway replenishment, flight operations, piloting waters, and at battle stations.
This variation adds a degree of uncertainty from ship to ship and detracts from the establishment of force-wide standards. To address this, the surface force is moving toward greater standardisation to achieve greater certainty for operators. Individual ship configurations may require some variation from standardised type commander orders, but in all cases, a common set of high standards will be followed.
.Ready-for-Sea Assessments are being conducted to find out more about of our ships ability to safely navigate, communicate, and operate, as well as assessing the critical mission areas of navigation, propulsion, steering, communications, and damage control. These assessments have the authority to rescind an existing certification if necessary or, if deficiencies are less severe, to direct remedial training on a priority basis.
All ships will report, evaluate, and train to lessons learned from incidents and near misses. Formal requirements were provided to the surface force to engender safe, professional shipboard operations through the conduct of significant event/near-miss critiques, which will improve surface force safety by disseminating the reports from this process. The reporting will instill continuous improvement, promote better understanding of sound shipboard operating principles, and provide proficiency in root cause assessments to improve warfighting effectiveness.
New guidance will help the surface force revalidate core competencies, enhance operating proficiency, and navigate and communicate safely to bolster the confidence of our Troops and their leadership. We must do more to build surface warfare officers who are as well trained in seamanship and navigation as they are in tactics.
This will require changes to the way we conduct initial accessions and training for new crew detailed to our ships. Recent incidents remind us that any moment at sea has the potential to be a critical moment—requiring confident, decisive, and well-trained action. The surface force must be committed to making the course corrections necessary to safely conduct operations at sea.
The need for improvement at every level of surface warfare cannot be overstated, because the consequences of undershooting the mark are stark. The capability, capacity, flexibility, mobility, and endurance of surface forces is the core of our nation’s ability to provide regional, conventional deterrence.
Efforts to recover readiness through Distributed Maritime Operations” concept describes the naval force as “the fleet-centric warfighting capabilities necessary to gain and maintain sea control through the employment of combat power that may be distributed over vast distances, multiple domains, and a wide array of platforms.“ We will readiness only with a powerful, networked, and capable force as its backbone.
1. Conduct business case to inform maintenance workload allocation across public and private shipyards capacity incorporate a complete accounting of costs/risks associated with attack submarines sitting idle
2. Determine benefits associated with having the potential to both mitigate risk in new fleet asset construction and provide additional availability to combatant commanders.
3. Reevaluate fighter pilot squadron requirements, to include updating current assumptions of fighter pilot workload
4. Assess risks associated with key supply chain-related challenges related to operating and sustaining F-35, and determine how to mitigate these risks.
5. Determine the F-35’s ability to support distributed operations through the use of exercises and/or analyses.
6. Identify what steps are needed to ensure F-35 meets reliability and maintainability requirements before each variant reaches maturity, and update improvement program with these steps.
7. Test operating the F-35 disconnected from its Autonomic Logistics Information System [ALIS] for extended periods of time in a variety of scenarios to assess and mitigate the operation/sustainment risks
8. Updating sustainment plans with industry- and department-level input to accelerate depot repair capacity, reduce spares demand and improvestability and capabilities of the Autonomic Logistics Information System.
9. Share or make available, through a new or existing communications mechanism, F-35 operational lessons learned across the services.
10. Revise sustainment plans to ensure include the key requirements and decision points needed to fully implement the F-35 sustainment strategy and align funding plans to meet those requirements.
11. Focus actions and resources toward achieving key production, development and sustainment objectives increase F-35 availability and reduce sustainment costs.
12. Develop approach building un Amphibious Operations Training Requirements review, to prioritise available training resources to achieve operations priorities, and monitor progress
13. Clarify organisational responsible and time frames to define common outcomes for naval integration and use outcomes to develop a joint strategy, establish compatible systems and better leverage training resources
14. Develop guidance for the development and use of virtual training devices to include developing requirements for virtual training devices consider tasks and objectives, required proficiency, and available training time
15. Set target usage rates and collecting usage data from virtual training devices that defines a consistent process for assessing selection of the devices to be evaluated, guidelines on conducting the analysis, and the data that should be collected and assessed.
16. Develop a comprehensive plan for shipyard capital investment establish goals for condition/capabilities, external risk factors, planning costs and metrics for assessing progress
17. Provide regular reporting to key decision makers on progress/recapitalisation of shipyards condition/configuration, cost challenges and progress to reduce backlogs
18. Revise ship delivery policy to clarify what types of mission capability delivery of ship to fleet at the obligation work limiting date
19. Reconcile policy with practice to study current timing of ship trials and costs/benefits associated with inspection/survey assessment prior to providing ships to the fleet.
20. Reflect additional ship milestones in selected acquisition reports including obligation work limiting dates and readiness to deploy.
21. Ensure criteria used to declare initial operational capability aligns with guidance, and reflects definition of milestone in reports.
22. Report the initial operational capability criteria definition for all shipbuilding programs, not just those that have yet to reach this milestone.
23. Conduct a comprehensive reassessment of the Navy standard workweek and make any necessary adjustments.
24. Update guidance to identify examination of in-port manpower requirements periodically or when conditions change. necessary to execute workload for all surface ship classes.
25. Identify personnel requirements/costs associated with the planned larger Navy fleet size, including consideration of the updated manpower factors and requirements.
26. Establish comprehensive readiness rebuilding goals to guide readiness rebuilding efforts and a strategy for implementing identified goals, to include resources needed to implement the strategy.
27. Develop metrics for measuring interim progress at specific milestones against identified goals for all services.
28. Identify external factors impact readiness recovery plans, underlying assumptions ensure readiness rebuilding goals are achievable within established time frames.
29. Evaluate impact of assumptions about budget, maintenance time frames, and training that underpin readiness recovery plans.
30. Implement optimised fleet response plan and develop sustainable operational schedule for all ships homeported overseas.
31. Develop assessment of the long-term costs/risks to surface/amphibious fleet associated with increasing reliance on overseas homeporting to meet presence requirements
32. Make any necessary adjustments to overseas presence and reassess risks when making future overseas homeporting decisions and developing future strategic laydown plans.
33. Continue to monitor efforts to revise sustainment plans,, future budgets and determine if efforts will address identified fiscal/operation concerns
34. Examine performance-based contract metrics to ensure objectively measurable, reflective of processes under contractor control, and drive desired behaviours by all stakeholders.
35. Examine sustainment metrics to objectively hold contractor accountable for delivering increased availability, reduce cost, and align sustainment processes and deliverables
36. Establish structure to motivate the contractor delivery of threshold performance values, establish improved metrics of supply chain performance under vendor control
37. Ensure sufficient knowledge of the actual costs of sustainment and technical characteristics of the aircraft after baseline development is complete and the system reaches maturity.
38. Identify gaps in the cost data received from contractors and collaborate with vendors find ways to improve quality, resolution of details and timeliness of figures received
39. Complete key operational tests to achieve understanding of sustainment costs and technical characteristics of the aircraft at system maturity to position for performance-based contract.
40. Take steps to improve communication and provide more information to identify risk mitigation implement/actions in event of a loss of critical industrial base facility assets
41. Provide info on organic facilities identified as task critical assets include effects on capabilities identify/plan risk mitigation actions to undertake if facilities are inoperable
42. Recieve information through service-specific channels of communication on most critical parts production facilities supporting programs
43. Develop mechanism to ensure program offices obtain information from contractors on single source of supply risks.
44. Cleary define requirements of diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages and detail responsibilities and procedures to be followed by program offices
45. Assess costs/benefits of logistics teams managing retail supply, storage, and distribution functions at depots/shipyards.
46. Develop metrics to measure accuracy of planning factors, such as schedule, work orders and replacement factors used for depot maintenance.
47. Resolve any issues identified through measuring the accuracy of planning inputs in an effort to improve supply and depot maintenance operations.
48. Implement metrics to measure and track disruption costs created by lack of parts at depot maintenance industrial sites
49. Establish team of supply and depot maintenance experts from to assess potential data sources, approaches, and methods to best utilise metrics
50. Take action to address readiness deficits identified by metrics in supply and depot maintenance operations.