The American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Fleet Maintenance & Modernization Symposium (FMMS) is an annual event, alternating between Hampton Roads and San Diego. This year’s four-day event was held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton from September 12-15, 2016 and included numerous prominent guest speakers, panelists, and paper presentations from the Navy, Coast Guard, the ship construction and repair industry, and academia. The event provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to network with government and industry representatives from across the country.
The theme of this year’s FMMS was “Collaborate, Innovate, Solve. Invest for an Affordable Fleet Tomorrow.” The Symposium was kicked-off with a Scholarship Golf Tournament followed by four full days of Navy, association, and industry exhibits; keynote addresses by Navy maintenance and modernization leaders, including ADM Davidson, Commander Fleet Forces Command , VADM Moore, Commander NAVSEA, and RADM Galinis, PEO Ships; government and industry panel discussions on specific, related topics, technical paper discussions, and maintenance “Town Halls”; a ship tour of USS George Washington (CVN-73); and closing with an Industry/Navy Discussion Panel (INDP), led by RDML Downey, SEA 21 and Commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center (CNRMC). The symposium also included an education course (“Shipbuilding and Repair Business Management I and II”) conducted by Mr. Michael Stanton from BAE.
In addition to addressing significant elements of Navy maintenance and modernization strategy, many of the symposium’s discussions centered on VADM Moore’s top three priorities to align with the Navy’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” and its four Lines of Effort that focus on warfighting, learning faster, strengthening our Navy team, and building partnerships. VADM Moore’s top three priorities are:
- On Time Delivery of Ships and Submarines
o A multifaceted “all of the above” approach
o Cost of products, cost of processes, cost of day- to-day business
o Increase level of knowledge, affordably integrate cybersecurity, execute a Risk Management Framework (RMF).
On the last day of the Symposium, RDML Downey, CNRMC, hosted the annual Industry/Navy Discussion Panel (INDP), an open forum for Navy officials and industry representatives to discuss current policies, trends, and actions affecting the Navy ship maintenance and modernization community. Admiral Downey provided SEA 21/CNRMC’s priorities to assist in fulfilling VADM Moore’s three top priorities listed above:
- Availability execution – 0n–time delivery
- Fleet sustainment
- Surface ship contracting strategy
- CG and LSD modernization
- LCS sustainment and maintenance
RDML Downey, his staff, and representatives from NAVSEA 02 (Contracts) emphasized throughout their remarks and in response to questions and comments provided by attendees that they welcomed and encouraged a continuing and detailed discussion with industry on these topics and priorities. Some specific comments included:
-- overall maintenance costs are trending positive;
-- contract changes and availability growth must be controlled to achieve positive results;
-- Requests for Contractual Change (RCCs) must be resolved within 60% of availability start in order to avoid schedule impact;
-- Workload forecasting by Port is a work in progress. No AIT work is currently included in the forecasts;
-- All complex MACMO contracts will be awarded by NAVSEA 02 except for those in Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) which will be awarded by SERMC;
-- “Cascading” small business set-aside procurements were explained. While the procurements are set-aside only for award to small businesses, large businesses may submit a proposal that would be considered for award should less than two small businesses submit acceptable proposals;
-- NAVSEA 02 representative advised that the Non- Complex Norfolk and San Diego MAC RFPs should be issued shortly;
-- The recent USS RAMAGE award was the first of several expected Coast-wide complex awards and NAVSEA is looking at the possibility of establishing Coast-wide MACs for Coast-wide availabilities;
-- There are no scheduled industry days to discuss ship maintenance and modernization contracting strategies;
-- RDML Downey expressed his philosophy that all core HM&E work on a vessel in a prime contractor’s facility should be conducted solely by the prime and not by an AIT or other entity.
By any measure, this year’s FMMS was a success. It certainly fulfilled ASNE’s expressed goal for the event to provide:
“a unique opportunity to interact with senior military and civil service decision makers, ship and craft operators and maintainers, repair and maintenance personnel, designers, builders, planners, engineers, program managers, life cycle engineers, equipment suppliers and other technical experts.”
About the Author
Ron Ritter is the President of On Point, LLC, a business consulting company with a concentration on Government contracting and procurement policies, business organizational development, and mergers and acquisitions.
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