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Report: Navy to Look to Smaller, Private Shipyards

Monday, January 8, 2018

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NAVSEA, the U.S. Navy’s Sea Systems Command, will increase its dealings with smaller, private shipyards as a supplement to the major work done at public naval shipyards and huge yards like Newport News Shipbuilding, according to a new report from USNI News.

According to the publication from the nonprofit U.S. Naval Institute, Vice Admiral Tom Moore said the Navy plans to dole out work in advance to small, in some cases more specialized, shipyards. Most of the Navy’s work is currently done at a few large shipyards that hold massive contracts, and smaller shipyards are most likely to get Naval contracts if those shipyards are overwhelmed and cannot handle the workload.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott

NAVSEA, the U.S. Navy’s Sea Systems Command, will increase its dealings with smaller, private shipyards as a supplement to the major work done at public naval shipyards and huge yards like Newport News Shipbuilding, according to a new report from USNI News

Newport News Shipbuilding, in Virginia, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the Navy’s sole supplier of aircraft carriers, and General Dynamics Electric Boat, with locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, is the main supplier of submarines.

The Navy also maintains four public shipyards—Norfolk, Portsmouth, Puget Sound and Pearl Harbor—that, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, are in poor condition, creating a backlog of work that comes at a cost of nearly $5 billion.

Changing the Process

Moore told USNI News that he foresees changing the way the Navy bids out smaller, more specialized jobs, many of which already go to smaller shipyards anyway as a result of the backlogs at the naval shipyards. Those jobs would be bid out to private shipyards from the beginning, according to Moore’s plan, rather than waiting until it’s clear that the naval shipyards can’t handle the work.

"I hold on to that work as long as I can, and then we tend to, when we don’t have the capacity in the end, we give it to them kind of late in the game,” Moore told the publication. “It’s not a great way of doing it.”

In the unlikely event that the plan resulted in extra capacity at the naval shipyards, Moore said it would be reconsidered at the end of the year.


Tagged categories: Government contracts; Marine; Ships and vessels; Shipyards; Submarine; U.S. Navy

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