NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support … Building Strong Commercial Partnerships to Support the Fleet

Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) is the Navy’s supply chain manager providing worldwide logistics support within the global logistics network. The global logistics network encompasses Navy plus other Joint, Department of Defense, Federal and commercial organizations. Through aligning warfighter requirements with the capabilities of our commercial partners, NAVSUP WSS provides the products and services required to keep our combat forces mission ready.

Understanding the warfighter’s requirements is essential to supporting operational goals and ensuring the right commercial partnerships are established within the industrial base to meet mission readiness needs. NAVSUP WSS must fully understand both the current and future warfighter requirements to be poised to respond to urgent fleet corrective maintenance needs as well as planned maintenance requirements.

As such, NAVSUP WSS compiles warfighter requirements through data-driven analysis and robust stakeholder collaboration. Current warfighter requirements are received through requisitions submitted by fleet customers. By using the historical demand shaped by stakeholder input as an indicator of future requisitions, NAVSUP WSS can tailor material procurements and repairs to meet warfighter needs. This proactive approach allows NAVSUP WSS to scale supply chain throughput and contribute to improved fleet readiness.

Due to the volatility of our operating environments and the different life cycle stages of the Navy’s weapon systems, historical demand is not always a true indicator of future requirements. NAVSUP WSS’ Integrated Weapon System Teams (IWSTs) are aligned by platform to engage key stakeholders including TYCOMs, Program Offices, Ship Yards, Inter-service Engineering Agents (ISEAs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) through drumbeats and working groups to better plan and forecast future requirements.

NAVSUP WSS maintains strong relationships with a number of core commercial partners who are the Prime Contractors and/or OEMs of specific weapons systems. These core commercial partners own the proprietary data and maintain the technical knowledge required to provide the products and services necessary to support a specific weapon system. These commercial partners supply the Navy with repair parts and maintenance consumables as well as assist in resolving logistics challenges such as reliability and diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) issues. Weapon systems not supported by the OEM, can be supported through other commercial partnerships or through organic partnerships. NAVSUP WSS relies on many commercial partners to support a variety of weapon systems or individual repair part components. These commercial partners typically excel in a particular skillset which can be applied to many different products and services supplied by NAVSUP WSS. Many of our common pumps, valves, cables and electronics are supplied by companies who have specific technical expertise.

Organic partnerships are created when there may be a supplier gap in the commercial market to provide the required products and services required by the fleet. These are often older weapon systems and repair parts no longer used in the commercial markets but still required by our combat forces. As weapon systems age, the reliance on organic partnerships to support fleet requirements increases.

NAVSUP WSS program managers and contracting officers engage directly with our commercial partners to ensure they understand the Navy’s support needs. Program managers are responsible for coordinating with all stakeholders responsible for a specific weapon system. This direct coordination facilitates a team approach to overcoming the logistics challenges impacting the weapon system’s “wholeness” and works to develop, design and deliver optimal material support for nearly 200 maritime weapon systems. Proper planning and collaboration with stakeholders is essential to providing optimal support for the total life cycle of every weapon system.

Contracting officer’s work directly with our commercial partners to procure the material needed to support the fleet. There are seven contracting departments within NAVSUP WSS who are primarily aligned to specific suppliers to help build strong supplier relationships. The contracting departments are responsible for a wide range of repair, procurement, service and PBL contracting in support of the Navy’s requirements.

NAVSUP WSS is always working to attract new suppliers and increase the number of commercial partners. To promote growth, NAVSUP WSS promotes Industry Days by inviting new potential commercial partners with unique skill sets and a desire to support the nation’s military to meet with members of the NAVSUP team. The purpose of an Industry Day is to improve understanding of both government requirements and industry capabilities to further strengthen our engagements and relationships with the industrial base. The Navy is dependent on a strong commercial industrial base to support and supply the required repair parts, supplies and services the warfighters need.

NAVSUP WSS is committed to contributing to Fleet “wholeness” by providing the Fleet the tools, spares and repair parts required to maintain readiness. Developing strong relationships with our commercial partners is essential to supporting the Navy’s desired readiness objectives by providing end-to-end life cycle logistics.

By Cmdr. (Sel) Tara Hodge, SC, USN; Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support