The March General Membership Luncheon meeting was held at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. The guest speaker was RDML Jason Lloyd from Naval Engineering and Logistics, SEA 05, Naval Sea Systems Command.
Rear Admiral Jason Lloyd began by stating it was an honor to be there and thanking the Association for allowing him to speak before them, also mentioning the faces in the audience that mentored him and assisted him while coming up through the ranks. They all had worked on the common goal of getting ships delivered and quality product to the sailors.
He began with mention of the Davidson Window. Phil Davidson was USINDOPACOM for five years, retiring in 2022. He lived in the backyard of China for five years. He was responsible every day for what was going on there. While in China, he was witness to them building their fake islands and landing strips in the South China Sea. He woke up each day hoping that China would say, “not today.” Upon his return to the United States, he was brought to congress, and they asked him when he thought China would make a move on Taiwan. Rear Admiral Lloyd explained Xi Jinping’s vision of leaving a legacy as he will be starting his fourth term in 2027. Stating that in 1950, China laid out a 100-year marathon to become the dominant country economically and militarily in the world in 100 years, and they are ahead of schedule. They have been tracking and America has been watching for 73 years. When Davidson was asked the question of when China was going to take Taiwan, his answer was 2022-2027, which was called the Davidson window. This made the United States ask how we make China wake up tomorrow morning and say, “not today, we are not ready for that fight.”
In January 2022, we have a rising power to the east of us, The Soviet Union, and a rising power to the west of us, China. Russia invaded Ukraine and now we have the China and Taiwan situation. If that does not make the hair on the back of your neck stand up; it should. What do we do? The book Freedoms Forge refers to the American Industrial Complex on the winning of WWII, and the fact that Ford and Knudsen chose to go with Chrysler and Ford for mass production to build for war. During WWII, the United States built 5,000 ships in a four-year period and 2,700 of them were Liberty ships. From laying the kilt to delivery of ship was four days and fifteen hours. Stating the American Industrial Complex can do all kinds of things, he knows we could do it again and that it would take a lot of work. He stated we are in this situation together and it would take all kinds of teams to be able do it again. RDML Lloyd shared his quote for his team: “You are only allowed to say ‘they’ if you are talking about China or Russia, otherwise it’s ‘we,’ we as Americans”.
How do we get there and what do we do? His philosophy on people is to assume noble intent. There are very few people who wake up in the morning saying they want to do a bad job. Yet we are quick to assume that other people are waking up wanting to do just that. We have to assume noble intent; he assumes that everyone wants to do the same thing he wants to do. He mentioned a conversation he had, stating that we have to do what’s right. They replied, “What’s right depends on where you are sitting.” He asked them if they agreed we should be delivering quality ships to our sailors on time on schedule to prevent going to war with China. They absolutely agreed, and RDML Lloyd said “then let’s start there; let’s figure out what things we need to work on as a team to get to that common goal.” We all want the same thing. There is a lot of work everywhere. We all must assume noble intent. We have to talk to each other in a way that we can knock down these barriers between us.
We, as a military industrial complex, need to give our kids the same world to grow up in that we had. We are not doing well with on-time delivery of these ships. There are a lot of reasons for that, and we all have problems that need to be fixed. He believes that we can fix these problems together. In reference to 9-11, on the day after (September 12th), we were one country with one goal in mind; to protect our way of life. He has confidence it would happen again if we had another conflict of war.
He referred to the Yorktown, May 1942 when the Japanese reported they had sunk it. It limped back to Pearl Harbor and Admiral Nimitz knew that the Battle of Midway was going to happen. He knew that the Japanese would have four carriers and we would have two. They rebuilt Yorktown at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. When asked how long it would take to get Yorktown back out to sea, the engineers said three months. ADMRL Nimitz knew that it was not quick enough and told them they had three days. They repaired that ship in three days and sent it out again to the Battle of Midway. Of course, we know it did not make it back from Midway, but it made a difference in our victory in that war. Pretty amazing!
He is confident that we can, as a country, do that again. We must work together. In our current situation right now, we could not fix a warship like Yorktown in three days. What is holding us back? The adjudication of technical issues. We have lived in a world since the end of the cold war where there was no assumption of risk. Business decisions overrode technical recommendations, which can kill people. Having no technical authority is wrong, but having so much that one hinders production is wrong. We must come together to figure out where those problems are as a team to go after this.
RDML Lloyd began a pilot program last summer, and over the three-month period, there were no more major departures specifications to come to NAVSEA, which did not go over well with his team. There were 312 major departures, and they let the waterfront make all decisions. They did an overview afterwards, stating they felt it was a huge success, and they were there to assist where needed and not hinder the timeline. Out of the 312, they agreed to 311 of them with the last one being moved to the next availability. This wiped out the 14 days that a major DFS must go up to DC and return. This chain judicates everything. Now they are a help rather than a hindrance to the timeframe.
Now they are working to see what they can do with PCP, (Process Control Procedures) and TGIs (Test Group Injunctions) in the public shipyards. As they learn, they process the lessons and critiques from the workforce. They went over all those lessons, to put them together to see what can be done differently. How do they develop documents that help the mechanic that do not burden the mechanic? They are currently working out that process. What is the common interest that we want to have to satisfy all concerns in industry? We have to work together to figure it out.
« Return to Newsletter