Navy Will Release New 30-Year Ship Repair, Modernization Plan with Annual Shipbuilding Report–USNI

The Navy has announced that they will release not only a 30 year shipbuilding plan, but also a 30 year ship repair and modernization plan.

He acknowledged that the timing of ship maintenance availabilities are prone to change, as deployments are extended, one ship is swapped for another to meet a warfighter need, and so on. But while the planning is complex, he said, “the only thing I know is, the best way to start getting after a complex issue is laying out at least what you know and laying that out as a baseline, so then when you do have to do – whether it’s for operational reasons or whatever – have to do changes, you’re changing from a known baseline and you can more quickly understand what the second- and third-order effects are.”

I still don’t think the Coast Guard has ever submitted their 20 year plan as mandated by GAO and Congress. We have discussed the need for a long term shipbuilding plan numerous times. These are only two:

I suspect the 20 year plan was stalled in the Department.

It is really important to build an understanding of future needs. It seems this was a part of the problem in getting a realistic shipbuilding budget. We should anticipate replacing all our ships when they reach 30 years of age. As that time approaches we can reevaluate and perhaps delay replacement if they are holding up well, and we will be heroes.

We really have to tell the administration and the Congress what we need. To do that I would reiterate the need to periodically redo the Fleet Mix simulation and study. The last one was done about ten years ago and still assumed multiple crewing of the Bertholf Class NSCs and Offshore Patrol Cutters. (Crew Rotation Concept).

23 thoughts on “Navy Will Release New 30-Year Ship Repair, Modernization Plan with Annual Shipbuilding Report–USNI

  1. I disagree! I suspect what “Stalled” was the availability of Shipyards and Repair Facilities. That Either or Both weren’t available within to 20-year Time Frame, but Could and/or Would be available within 30-years. And that those needed to operate them as well. For example, “Mare Island” though available has been “Shuttered” since 1996, and has ~104-years worth of “Asbestos” Contamination. It would probably take 10-years at a Minimum just to Clean Up the Environmental Hazard that Mare Island IS and Replace all the equipment needed for a Modern Naval Shipyard…

    • Maybe it could be made a Superfund site and the EPA could push money to get it cleaned up even faster. It’s a win-win-win: clean up toxins, re-grow capacity, put people to work (both through the remediation and long-term in the shipyard).

      • And who is the current Secretary of the EPA? Scott Pruitt, who is more interested in getting his wife a job than being the EPA Secretary…

      • And how many of them are being utilized for that function. A welder working for a Naval Shipyard has to have at least seven years experience as a Journeyman, before being able to work on Naval Ships. Commercial Yards even less. USCG Vessels are built to Military Standards, not Commercial Standards…

    • Me too. I feel like some of the problem is the frequent rotation of staffs and Commandants. It seems many CCGs have had a different vision and pushed for different things, or there were politically passive ones who sat back and said “Yes Sir” when Congress or the President said, “make do; no money for you…”

      The bottom line with an organization as big as the USCG, is to have a continuous/on-going acquisitions budget. The CG is buying 25-ish OPCs and 10-ish NSCs. They should last 30 years. Well, let’s have a program where the acquisitions are at a set pace of say 1.5/year for those 35 Cutters. That’s a 24-year building program. Shipyards would love the stability of income. This is the cheapest budgetary way to buy (every year’s budget has an amount for 1.5 cutters, rather than, say, 4 cutters a year for 9 years [big budget years] vs. small budgets with no large Cutter acquisition for 20 years. Congress doesn’t like the up-and-down budgets as much as steady budgets…

      • And, the same system would be applicable to aviation and smaller Cutters / small boat programs. They will have varying lifespans and numbers of assets, but there are enough to do this in a planned, smart way.

        The only assets I see which do not fit this model would be the icebreakers.

    • We need the plan to recognize and deal with the irregular pace of equipment replacement. Planning should allow recognition well in advance and help to determine what we will SLEP and what we will replace. And if the budget cannot be made flat we can at least build a consensus for dealing with the bumps. In addition to the normally 40+ large patrol cutters other major ships programs that have to fit into the plan include the buoy tenders, Mackinaw replacement, and of course the icebreakers.

      We need to average about two ships a year but sometimes that is going to be one icebreaker, other times three OPCs or four WLMs or perhaps a mix.

      We are going to have to start replacing the 87 foot WPBs relatively soon.

      The Air side is going to become significant in the not to distant future when we have to replace all the helicopters over a relatively short span.

      The $2B/year for what we used to call AC&I is realistic. We need to show why the recent budget increases are not just a one or two year anomaly. We need that kind of budget for the foreseeable future.

      • i suspect the 87s like the 82s will be run into the ground before a replacement comes along. history tells us this.

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the USCG retire the “82’s” back in 2003…

      • And how are they going to built any faster! And once you have them, who going to work them? This isn’t WWII where those that didn’t serve, worked the Steel Mills, Manufacturing Facilities and Shipyards. You have a Finite number of skilled workers to do the job. This isn’t China were Labor is Cheap and can be called on on a moments notice (i.e. Forced Labor). Working 24/7/365 on minimum wages…

    • @secundius, that is why bringing heavy industry back to the US is so key. The US needs industrial capacity (steel mills, shipyards, automotive factories) and a skilled workforce. America has been funding the building of capacity in China (the obvious one, but other countries too), which, combined with their population, gives them the ability to stir trouble in all the West Pacific hotspots we have been talking about.

      • And how do you plan to incite people to the Tradesman Field by trying to eliminate Unions. And as far as I know, those Steel Plants that Donald Trump is seamlessly bragging about aren’t going to be built after all. All that US Steel is doing is Reactivating Two Steel Mills that we’re shut down in 2015…

      • Ummmmm, where did I say I wanted to get rid of unions? And the skilled labor capacity comes from people who want to work with their hands. Those same people were being pushed towards lower-paying service-industry jobs, but as industrial capacity increases, they will have the option of higher-paying industrial jobs. And re-opening closed plants IS adding back to our capacity. Many, if not most, steel plants are VERY old. The two foundaries in my area are using 70 and 110 year old equipment, because the nature of steel processing doesn’t destroy the equipment. The benchmark is how many tons per day does the US process, not whether plants are new or old…

      • The only Steel Mill Company to perform Upgrades to it Steel Mill Plant, is Nucor Company. In 2005, the refurbished the Steel Mill in Marion, Ohio, in 2015 in South Carolina, Nebraska and Tennessee. And in 2016, in Arkansas. Bethlehem Steel last saw an Upgrade in 1945…

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