BY LT. CMDR. TY LUSTER, SC, USN
N41 PLATFORM LEAD
NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND
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USS Essex (LHD 2) Amphibious Readiness Group
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) is an avid supporter of the Surface Warfare Enterprise’s (SWE) strategic plan to maintain a fleet that is trained, equipped, and ready to fight. Through critical analysis, cross-functional support efforts, and focused engagements with class advocates (CAs), NAVSUP provides material support and logistics services to produce the development and delivery of surface warfare warfighting capabilities.
Surface Warfare Enterprise: Mission, Construct, and Objective
The mission of the SWE is to provide warships ready for sustained combat operations at sea in support of national defense. The organization aligns efforts across the fleet to meet growing requirements with evolving capabilities against existing and emerging threats in a budget constrained environment.
In 2013, the SWE introduced the Readiness Kill Chain (RKC) methodology to ensure the fleet has the required manning, training, equipment, logistics support, and infrastructure to accomplish operational tasking. RKC methodology identifies support gaps, bridges fleet challenges, and ensures wholeness needs are met. For the SWE, wholeness is not only having a ship’s company able to deploy, but to sail forward with confidence in its ability to accomplish assigned missions, sustain the ship’s operational readiness, and do its part to help the ship achieve its expected service life.
The SWE framework spans seven pillars (PESTONI): personnel, equipment, supply, training, ordnance, network, and infrastructure. SWE objectives include pillar-led functional area evaluations for each ship class and developing solutions to address readiness shortfalls. Identified deficiencies are grouped into current or future readiness issues allowing the RKC Current Readiness Cross Pillar Team (CRCPT) and Future Readiness Cross Pillar Team (FRCPT) to track implementation and resolution. While the CRCPT focuses on near-term concerns, the FRCPT takes a long-range approach in identifying program funding needed to develop solutions for deficiencies.
Supply and Ordnance Pillars
The mission of the supply (S) and ordnance (O) pillars is to manage and improve material and ordnance readiness. This is achieved through the execution of RKC assessments employing established metrics to evaluate the “health” of the supply system and optimize available ordnance resources. The results for each platform are reviewed annually on a rotating schedule and briefed monthly to the SWE board of directors comprised of SWE leadership, pillar leads and stakeholders.
Key logistics entities and personnel that compose the core S pillar team include NAVSUP Headquarters, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (WSS), embedded liaison officers (LNOs) at Naval Sea Systems Command program executive offices, CAs, Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, and U.S. Navy type commander N41 staffs. The O pillar core team includes Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific and Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic load planners, CAs and representatives from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations N96 and U.S. Fleet Forces Command N41. These core teams bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and are essential in identifying and eliminating shortfalls through process improvement and reallocation of support.
Customer Engagement: Means and Ways
Shipboard maintainers and weapon system operators are the end-use consumers forming a significant portion of the SWE logistics customer base. Cross-pillar collaboration in forums such as the SWE, CRCPT, and FRCPT identify and highlight waterfront concerns by CAs and Echelon IV commands. Communicating fleet issues within these venues promotes holistic solutions via a collective effort across the pillars or identifies resourcing actions needed to preclude future reccurrence.
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Adm. Rowden visits NAVSUP WSS Mechanicsburg and receives a platform briefing. Photo by Dorie Heyer
To assist in this effort, key logistics stakeholders refine demand planning and forecasting for repair parts and identify ordnance inventory shortfalls impacting the fleet. The S pillar core team is engaged in improving stock posture overseas and executing the delivery of products such as Targeted-Allowance Reconciliation Tools and automated shore interface runs to groom and validate shipboard storerooms. Since RKC’s inception, unfilled customer orders (UCOs) have decreased by 49 percent, ensuring critical allowance items are in the hands of our fleet maintainers and operators. By strengthening our alliances with commercial and organic spares support providers, UCOs are at a two-year low. In collaboration with other stakeholders, NAVSUP has achieved a 38 percent reduction in outstanding material for material casualty reports since fiscal year 2014.
“The SWE construct opens the lines of communication between us and the CAs, and allows us to act on systemic issues affecting the fleet,” said NAVSUP WSS Mechanicsburg CRCPT Action Officer Lt. Cmdr. Mike Mullerheim. “We have the opportunity to partner with other pillars to resolve issues such as obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources impacting parts support.”
The O pillar core team reviews cross-decking efforts needed for ordnance and facilitates funding requirements and inventory sourcing to ensure a full loadout prior to a ship’s deployment. Efforts of the team have resulted in increased inventories of critical weapons to support fleet requirements. The O pillar, in conjunction with the infrastructure pillar continues to champion critical construction requirements to ensure the logistical last mile for munitions remains intact for the warfighter. The actions of the S and O Pillar teams ultimately result in a supply chain that is agile, responsive and reliable in support of the fleet.
“The proactive S and O Pillar engagements across the SWE to examine systemic issues directly improve surface force readiness,” said Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet N41 SWE Action Officer Lt .Cmdr Jason Deleon. “The ships don’t work for us, we work for them.”
One Navy…One Fight
As our operating environment continues to be defined by decreasing resources, increased operational demands, evolving capabilities, and emerging threats, collaboration is critical in maintaining maritime superiority. Each pillar, stakeholder, and respective program office has a role in ensuring surface warfare wholeness. The integrated approach of the SWE and RKC construct will continue to drive readiness and improve processes for optimal Fleet support.