By Kelly Luster, Director, Public Affairs/Corporate Communications
NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support
When a Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is sitting on the deck of a littoral combat ship (LCS) rather than being deployed in the battlespace, there are only two questions the ship’s supply officer (SUPPO), wants to have answered: “Where is my part?” and “When will I get it?” Stopping operations in the battlespace is not an option for combatant commanders, especially for a maintenance issue or backordered parts. For them, supporting America’s warfighters in their area of operation is paramount.
[caption id="attachment_8441" align="aligncenter" width="550"]
Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen (center), commander, NAVSUP, discusses ways to strengthen partnerships with the SYSCOMs through the development of collaborative strategies based on lessons learned at the NAVSUP-hosted PEO, USC Summit in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. From Left to Right: Michael Madden, vice commander, NAVSUP; Rear Adm. John P. Neagley, program executive officer, PEO, USC; Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen, commander, NAVSUP; Nidak A. Sumrean, PEO USC executive director; Lynn Kohl, vice commander, NAVSUP WSS. –photo by Dorie Heyer
Recently, a group of senior leaders from across the Navy came together at the NAVSUP-hosted Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) Summit to discuss and strengthen partnerships with the systems commands (SYSCOMs) through the development of collaborative strategies based on lessons learned. Specifically, this group was looking near term to ensure open communication and alignment among the next four LCS platforms preparing to deploy.
Briefing topics and discussions covered in the summit included fleet maintenance and readiness, NAVSUP Weapon System Support (WSS) initiatives and challenges, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center-Logistics Support Team fleet waterfront support, DLA support initiatives, unmanned maritime systems support issues, mission package support facility initiatives, mine warfare systems, and the frigate sustainment strategy.
Representing the major players at the summit were Rear Adm. John P. Neagley, PEO, USC; Nidak A. Sumrean, PEO USC executive director; Rear Adm. Jonathan A. Yuen, commander, NAVSUP; Michael Madden, vice commander, NAVSUP; Rear Adm. Duke Heinz, commander, NAVSUP WSS; and Lynn Kohl, vice commander,NAVSUP WSS. Additionally, the following stakeholders were also represented: NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC); Commander Naval Surface Atlantic, United States Fleet Forces Command; Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One (LCSRON 1), Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two (LCSRON 2); Defense Logistics Agency (DLA); Supply, Ordnance and Logistics Operations Division, OPNAV, N41; and Surface Warfare, OPNAV N96.
The LCS has its maintenance challenges, such as its highly technological advances, and its ability to perform multiple missions, which, in some cases, can lead to obsolete parts. In simple terms, technology sometimes advances more quickly than the expected lifespan of a given system. Melissa Olson, deputy director, LCS Integrated Weapon Systems Team (IWST), provided an example: “Imagine you have the very latest smart phone. By the time you get it home from the store and start exploring its capabilities, there are already software updates, and a newer model of the phone is already in production. In some cases, up to 20 or 30 percent of the components on an LCS face obsolescence issues. The challenge we face is not that the system has outlived its usefulness, but rather there may not be a manufacturer still making a specific part. But forums like this help us explore solutions to ensure our warfighters are still mission-ready.”
Among some of the solutions that were discussed, NAVSUP WSS encouraged the PEO, USC to more proactively plan and budget for the various non-program of record electronic systems expected to experience near-term obsolescence. In addition, opportunities exist for improving provisioning inputs to decrease contracting challenges and increase on-board allowance effectiveness.
Over the next five years, the Navy is scheduled to receive up to 30 new LCSs, which could lead to four times the challenges currently being faced. However, according to Kohl, this is precisely the reason communication is vital to the success of standing up and maintaining these ships. “NAVSUP WSS is a key player in the success of the U.S. Navy LCS because we are the Navy’s only Program Support Inventory Control Point (PSICP), and we provide hands-on, timely, support to our customers,” said Kohl. “It is imperative NAVSUP WSS is involved when new platforms and systems are in the early stages of the acquisition lifecycle. We are the critical link connecting the supplies and support to the warfighter to ensure naval readiness.”
By hosting the LCS PEO USC Summit, and other events like it, NAVSUP WSS planners can identify challenges earlier, forecast program support demands, and execute critical functions as the Navy’s PSICP.