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Assistant SECNAV Sean Stackley: "Perfect Storm" Mounting Pressure on Industrial Base

The October General Membership Luncheon was held on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel. The Honorable Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development & Acquisition, was the guest speaker for the event. Mr. Stackley spoke of the “perfect storm” that is mounting pressure on Norfolk’s Industrial Base – referring to the Navy’s mixture of high operational tempo, budget stresses and the current number of ships in the fleet – to complete maintenance and modernization of Naval vessels quickly. Mr. Stackley also addressed the “extreme valley” in 2016’s workload for the port, stating that “only so much can be done to accelerate the work,” and that while a level load cannot happen, he and his staff are working hard to mitigate the valley. Mr. Stackley urged the membership to recognize, however, that despite uncertainty, the United States still has the most powerful Navy in the World, and that, “our job is to ensure that remains true 20 years from now.”

Sean J. Stackley assumed the duties of assistant secretary of the Navy (ASN) (Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA)) following his confirmation by the Senate in July 2008. As the Navy’s acquisition executive, Mr. Stackley is responsible for the research, development and acquisition of Navy and Marine Corps platforms and warfare systems which includes oversight of more than 100,000 people and an annual budget in excess of $50 billion. 

Prior to his appointment to ASN (RDA), Mr. Stackley served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. During his tenure with the Committee, he was responsible for overseeing Navy and Marine Corps programs, U.S. Transportation Command matters and related policy for the Seapower Subcommittee. He also advised on Navy and Marine Corps operations and maintenance, science and technology and acquisition policy. 

Mr. Stackley began his career as a Navy surface warfare officer, serving in engineering and combat systems assignments aboard USS John Young (DD 973). Upon completing his warfare qualifications, he was designated as an engineering duty officer and served in a series of industrial, fleet, program office and headquarters assignments in ship design and construction, maintenance, logistics and acquisition policy. 

From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Stackley served as the Navy’s LPD 17 program manager, with responsibility for all aspects of procurement for this major ship program. Having served earlier in his career as production officer for the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and project Naval architect overseeing structural design for the Canadian Patrol Frigate, HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), he had the unique experience of having performed a principal role in the design, construction, test and delivery of three first-of-class warships. 

Mr. Stackley was commissioned and graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He holds the degrees of Ocean Engineer and Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Stackley earned certification as professional engineer, Commonwealth of Virginia, in 1994.

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