Re(3): $1.5 Billion Spent on Idle Submarines Awaiting Repairs

Pete,
I agree that low readiness is a big potential problem in our armed forces.
However, in the case of the attack submarines, low readiness doesn't seem to be primarily a matter of low funding, as discussed on Page 43 of your referenced report, but, instead, it is primarily a matter of work overload in the four public shipyards that do most of the maintenance work on the attack submarines.
The below (lengthy) excerpt from the article referenced in my original post discusses this problem in some detail:

"...Monday’s (GAO) report provides new details to a problem that has plagued the service for years. Attack submarines have suffered repair delays in the Navy’s four public yards that give priority to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines. The service has recently started mitigating the backlog by farming out some of the attack boat work to private shipyards.

'The Navy opted to send USS Montpelier (SSN-765) to General Dynamics Electric Boat and USS Helena (SSN-725), USS Columbus (SSN-762) and USS Boise (SSN-764) to Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding,' reported USNI News earlier this year.

While the service is doing more to send work to private yards, the GAO found that there was a lack of consistency in how the Navy exercised those private repair options.

'Although the Navy has shifted about 8 million man-hours in attack submarine maintenance to private shipyards over the past five years, it has done so sporadically, having decided to do so in some cases only after experiencing lengthy periods of idle time,' read the report. 'According to private shipyard officials, the sporadic shifts in workload have resulted in repair workload gaps that have disrupted private shipyard performance.

Earlier this year, head of Naval Sea Systems Command Vice Adm. Thomas Moore said the private yards were having difficulty repairing the attack boats.

'They’re struggling with the submarines that they have right now. Some of that is because overhauls are a heck of a lot harder than new construction so they’re not really proficient in it,' Vice Adm. Tom Moore said during a keynote speech at the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium in September.

'We would like to give them work on a semi-regular basis to at least create some efficiency for submarine maintenance… so that when we have peak years at naval shipyards we can choose to source that work out to the private sector.'

The Navy largely concurred with the recommendation of the report to conduct a more thorough review, of submarine maintenance requirements and impacts across both the public and private shipyards.”

A Navy spokesperson acknowledged but did not immediately respond to a USNI News request for comment on the report.

Monday’s report is an unclassified version of an overall attack submarine readiness report that went into greater detail on the shortfalls of the force. At the request of the Navy, details of attack submarine readiness goals, wartime requirements and several other details were omitted from the unclassified portion of the report..."




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