NAVSEA and SUPSHIP Newport News Supporting the Fleet

By Capt. Lee H. Weber, SC, USN, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Contracting Oversite,
Naval Sea Systems Command, SEA02 and Carl Ward, Chief of Contracts Office,
Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

Many in the Supply Corps community have engaged in contracting, but few have dabbled in acquisitions, and fewer still have been exposed to major defense acquisition programs. Then there is the “4-leaf clover” of our 1102 community–the Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO). Specifically, the ACOs overseeing our Navy’s costliest acquisition program–ship construction.

Figure 1


Figure 1 depicts the geo-footprint in which shipbuilding ACOs function. Details concerning the ship class are included, but the bumper-sticker take away is stunning–Shipbuilding ACOs oversee seven ACAT 1 programs (and counting) valued at over $155 billion (and counting) in active contracts from coast to coast. Contractor oversight; industrial/supplier base management; auditing and oversight of Fortune 500 companies’ business systems; daily negotiations of tens of millions of dollars to authorize and approve contract modifications; program management of destroyers, air craft carriers, Virginia-class submarines (soon to include Columbia-class), and amphibious class ships; these are but a few of the day-to-day challenges and taskings of a new ship construction ACO in delivering ships to our Navy.

These ACOs are embedded at the four Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) major commands located in Bath, Maine; Groton, Connecticut; Pascagoula, Mississippi and Newport News, Virginia. Each ACO holds contract warrant authority, and their function is described in FAR 42.302.

“Without an ACO that knows how to prioritize all contract actions for critical path work across all shipyard availabilities, I cannot achieve my number one mission priority of “On-Time Delivery of SSNs and CVNs,” states Capt. Jason Lloyd, commanding officer, supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair, Newport News, when describing the importance of an ACO in shipbuilding.

The contracting, product line, and business intelligence expected of a ship construction ACO is exceptional, and industry, waterfront, and political spotlights shine bright on every decision and action.

Newport News Shipbuilders lifted a 704-metric-ton aunit into Dry Dock 12, where construction of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is taking shape. –photo by Chris Oxley, Huntington Ingalls Industries


“There are not many Supply Corps officers afforded the opportunity to be the ACO for the design and construction of new nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers. Supply Corps officers assigned to Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News (SUPSHIPNN) are given this rare opportunity,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jaime Siqueiros, deputy chief of contacts.

SUPSHIPNN contracts department plays a critical role in the shipbuilding process and has an immediate and positive impact on the day-to-day construction and repair/modernization work being accomplished at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) located in Newport News, Virginia.

Newport News Shipbuilders lifted a 704-metric-ton aunit into Dry Dock 12, where construction of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is taking shape. –photo by Chris Oxley, Huntington Ingalls Industries


They administer all nuclear powered submarine and aircraft carrier contracts awarded to HII-NNS, including contracts to construct, repair, design, refuel and/or overhaul nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines for the U.S. Navy. Additionally, contracts may involve the procurement of supplies and services related to highly sophisticated materials and weapon systems to support nuclear powered ships.

New CVN Construction Division

Being a contracting officer at SUPSHIPNN is different than being one at a more traditional contracting shop. Lt. Cmdr. Siqueiros and his team are responsible for pre-award and post-award contract functions on the $4 billion Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) contract for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).

Utilizing its predecessor’s production process, combined with 21st century technology to drive efficiency and affordability, Kennedy (CVN 79) is being assembled with a modular construction technique where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form larger structures called superlifts. The superlifts are pre-outfitted and assembled in the dry dock, where the ship is being erected. Currently, the construction of the USS John F. Kennedy, the second ship in the Ford-class, is nearing 75 percent structural completion.

“Our efforts have a direct impact on enabling the drive to a 355 ship fleet. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the first two-ship nuclear powered aircraft carrier buy (CVN 80/81). This is a generational opportunity,” said Siqueiros.

The Big E–USS Enterprise (CVN65) sits idle in the shadows of the USS Ford (CVN78) – the lead ship of her class of newly designed USN aircraft carriers. On 1 December 2012 Enterprise became the first nuclear aircraft carrier to be deactivated after a storied 51 year service life that began in late 1961. Construction of the USS Ford (CVN 78) began on 11 August 2005. She was commissioned on 22 July 2017 and is currently undergoing various testing and evaluation. USS Ford (CVN 78) is expected to make her maiden deployment in 2020.


Submarine Division

SUPSHIPNN administers contracts covering in-service submarine repair, Virginia-class submarine (VCS) new construction, and Columbia-class submarine (CLB) new construction programs.

Contracts department personnel perform contract administration duties for the VCS contracts Block I through Block V, in addition to supporting one Post-Delivery Work Period (PWDP) per year at HII-NNS. They award, negotiate and administer delivery orders, spare parts and provisioning orders against Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs) and Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for supplies and services. They also support proposal cost and pricing analysis for field modification requests and orders issued under the VCS contracts. The team provides Field Pricing Reports to SUPSHIP Groton for all actions under new construction and the PDWP.

“Currently, SUPSHIPNN is the ACO for the USS Helena (SSN 725) dry-docking selected restricted availability (DRSA), USS Columbus (SSN 762) Engineered Overhaul (EOH), USS Boise (SSN 764) EOH, and is performing all contract administrative functions delegated to us by SUPSHIP Groton on the VCS and CLB programs. My team analyzes and recommends schedule adjustments and CAPEX incentives fully engaging in all contract changes that affect contract performance and schedule,” said Siqueiros.

Carrier Availabilities and Repair Division

SUPSHIPNN is responsible for executing change management functions, to include issuing change orders and negotiating and executing supplemental agreements for the inactivation, in-service availabilities, and refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) program.

They are currently providing post-award contract functions on the USS George Washington (CVN 73)’s RCOH and are performing pre-award functions on post shakedown availability/selected restricted availability contract for the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

Lt. Cmdr. Siqueiros’ team is fully engaged, supporting Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) 02’s efforts to award the advanced planning contract for USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), spending long hours analyzing extremely complex contract provisions, establishing contract milestones and developing an executable procurement plan.

Driving toward reducing costs and improving ship availability to the fleet, SHIPSHIPNN places emergent repairs and urgent task orders on contract through various contract vehicles to support fleet requirements. They perform technical and cost/pricing analysis on contractor requests for waivers/deviations from contract specifications or contract provisions; relief from certain contract provisions; request for payment of escalation; cost of facilities capital; provisional/progress payments; and release of contract performance reports.

Due to the dynamic nature of ship repair, these requirements are generally short-notice in order to allow ships to deploy on time. As with any contracting organization, duties such as oversight and management of existing contracts continue, as well as performing contract closeout activities after the period of performance has ended.

“It’s our job here at SUPSHIPNN to provide cradle-to-grave contracting support on multi-billion dollar contracts, monitor the quality assurance and production schedule requirements, and sign for final delivery to the fleet. Being a part of the NAVSEA contracts competency provides Supply Corps officers the rare opportunity to bring their contracting skills and knowledge to shipbuilding,” said Siqueiros.

The expectations from military and political leadership to provide respite to our Navy’s aging fleet are at a generational high. The FY18 appropriations bill directs a 20-plus billion-dollar investment into shipbuilding and conversion, and impacts programs ranging from VCS, CVNs, and DDGs to auxiliary ships, ship to shore connector, and littoral combat ships. The ACO is paramount in meeting the objectives of refreshing the fleet.

“Contracting Officers like Lt. Cmdr. Siqueiros support the Navy to be able to afford the capability and platforms needed to execute its acquisition strategy and strategic mission,” states Capt. Eric Oxendine, associate director of contracts at NAVSEA 02, when describing the criticality of an ACO in shipbuilding.

Summer 2018