Supporting a “Whole” Fleet

The Maritime Operations Directorate within Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) […]

The Maritime Operations Directorate within Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Weapon Systems Support (WSS) plays a significant role in providing program and supply support for the weapons systems that keep our naval forces, primarily ships and submarines, mission ready. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) has discussed the importance of maintaining a “whole,” not “hollow,” force.  In order for the force to be “whole,” we must be able to consistently produce warships ready for combat. 

 The Maritime Operations Directorate and NAVSUP WSS contribute to Fleet “wholeness” by providing the Fleet the tools, spares and repair parts required to maintain readiness. 

 The Readiness Kill Chain (RKC) framework, currently under development by U.S. Fleet Forces, describes the end-to-end process, which aims to ensure tighter coordination and collaboration across Fleets, System Commands (SYSCOM), Type Commands (TYCOM), and other stakeholders in order to reach the end goal of a “whole” Fleet, able to deploy mission ready.  Within the RKC framework, NAVSUP plays a critical role in the means and ways to achieve this end goal.  Within NAVSUP WSS, the Maritime Operations Directorate works to develop, design and deliver optimal material support for nearly 200 maritime weapon systems. 

 Achieving desired readiness objectives is enabled by providing end-to-end life cycle logistics support, including the building of provisioning and outfitting products, and providing overarching weapons system management. 

Lt. Darren Sablan meets with members of the AEGIS Integrated Weapon System Team (IWST) to discuss execution of supply support plans in support of Ballistic Missile Defense platforms.  IWST members include (left to right), John Schnee, Item Manager; Tim Nellett, Program Manager; Pam Burkholder, Program Manager; Steve Hunsecker, Provisioner; and Andrea Hafer, Item Manager. (Photo by Jim Morrow)

Lt. Darren Sablan meets with members of the AEGIS Integrated Weapon System Team (IWST) to discuss execution of supply support plans in support of Ballistic Missile Defense platforms. IWST members include (left to right), John Schnee, Item Manager; Tim Nellett, Program Manager; Pam Burkholder, Program Manager; Steve Hunsecker, Provisioner; and Andrea Hafer, Item Manager. (Photo by Jim Morrow)

 Provisioning is the process of determining and acquiring the range and depth of material necessary to support and maintain a weapon system for all levels of maintenance for an initial period of service.  The goal of provisioning is to support end item readiness objectives at minimum investment costs.  There are two types of provisioning performed at NAVSUP WSS, Contract Furnished Equipment (CFE) and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).  Both CFE and GFE types may include initial provisioning, as well as those in support of ship alterations, ordnance alterations, special project alterations, technical inserts, and other design changes.

 Engineers derive the provisioning data through analysis of Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) data.  The engineering community performs a Repair Analysis Supportability Summary, which provides the data required to establish provisioning products.  Balancing the readiness and cost equation is crucial in order to maximize limited financial resources to provide the right parts at the right time. 

 Inherent in the provisioning process is the production of critical technical data necessary to support the subsequent processes of cataloging and item management.  Cataloging is the process of assigning a National Stock Number (NSN) to an item that is repeatedly bought, stocked, stored, issued, and used throughout the Federal Supply System.  NAVSUP WSS works closely with DLA Logistics Information Service to catalogue items to better allow for the sustainment of weapon systems throughout their life cycle.

 Beyond the provisioning and cataloging process, NAVSUP WSS plays a vital role in outfitting new ships and submarines.  Throughout the building process of a new ship or submarine, there are many key milestones, which require the platform to be fitted out with various types of material.  The terms “operating space” (OSI) or “storeroom items” (SRI) are used to describe the different types of outfitting products.  Outfitting includes everything from cargo handling and firefighting equipment to crew berthing items, and medical and dental equipment.  Within the Maritime Operations Directorate, the Navy’s Outfitting Support Activity (OSA) administers many of the outfitting responsibilities including the validating, tracking, and expediting of material requirements. 

 The identification of requirements is guided by the results from the provisioning process previously discussed.  The results are typically loaded to the Configuration Data Managers Database – Open Architecture (CDMD-OA) to record, track, and manage configuration and maintenance-worthy items.  Next, an allowance document is produced to compute the range and depth of items to carry onboard.  This Coordinated Shipboard Allowance List (COSAL) is built incrementally over the acquisition period to identify the parts necessary to sustain and support the ship. 

 COSAL requirements are then passed to a government activity or agent to begin the procurement process on behalf of the ship.  Ultimately, COSAL requisitions are routed to the OSA group to begin processing, screening residual material, obligating funding, and ultimately procuring the item.  Providing these critical outfitting items to the fleet is yet another way NAVSUP WSS contributes to the fleet objective of “wholeness”.

 Outside of the provisioning and outfitting actions, NAVSUP WSS focuses on the total life cycle sustainment of a weapons system.  This begins at program inception and lasts all the way through disposal.  NAVSUP WSS Weapon System Managers are responsible for planning, budgeting, and sustainment of repairable equipment throughout the life cycle.  Proper planning and tight collaboration with stakeholders within the Hardware Systems Commands (HSCs) and the Program Executive Office (PEOs) is vital to a system’s long-term supportability and success. 

 Early in a system’s lifecycle, prior to a system’s Material Support Date (MSD), NAVSUP WSS collaborates with HSCs and PEOs on the interim supply support strategy, and discusses any matters that may impact future supply support.  NAVSUP WSS assumes management of the logistical support of a weapons system at MSD, and continues to do so for the rest of the system’s life cycle.  NAVSUP WSS Item Managers actively manage more than 150,000 National Stock Numbered (NSN) items in this life cycle management effort.  This includes balancing demand and supply, evaluating inventory levels and making decisions to buy or repair items in order to fill customer orders and achieve material availability objectives.

 Other life cycle management functions besides provisioning and outfitting, which have already been discussed, include …

* Development of material acquisition budgets

* Coordination from interim supply support to sustained supply support after MSD

* Onboard allowance model determination

* Execution of demand based, Readiness Based Sparing (RBS), or multi-echelon, on-board repair parts (OBRPs) computations

* Collaboration with DLA on initial and follow-on supply support

* Oversee post-MSD support metrics

* Assistance in the development of Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contracts

 At any given time, Weapon System Managers may be heavily involved in budgeting and provisioning for a new system, while another may be collaborating with stakeholders near the end of the lifecycle to dispose of potential excess material.  For example, the Mine Countermeasure (MCM) ships are in the later stages of their lifecycle, and obsolescence parts management is a significant concern.  The Maritime Operations Directorate coordinates with the applicable HSC and relevant Intra-Service Engineering Activities (ISEAs) to identify alternate sources of supply, locate local vendors to fabricate needed repair parts, and initiate repairs and/or procurement contracts for required assets.

 In summary, the Maritime Operations Directorate within NAVSUP WSS contributes mightily in the effort to maintain warships ready for combat as a supporting stakeholder in the Readiness Kill Chain.  In Fiscal year 2012, the directorate filled more than 110,000 customer orders with sales in excess of $750 million.  Looking towards the future, the continued efforts of the Maritime Operations Directorate to improve the processes of provisioning, outfitting and sustaining maritime weapon systems will only further enable the supply support of a “whole” Fleet.

By Cmdr. James H. Murphy, SC, USN.

Director, Logistics Execution and Plans Department, NAVSUP WSS Mechanicsburg

Bio:  Cmdr. James Murphy is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.  His previous assignments include DLA Land and Maritime; USS Lake Champlain (CG 57);  Commander, Third Fleet; Joint Maritime Facility, St. Mawgan; and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62).