Adapted from Mr. Turner’s presentation to the Naval Logistics Conference. Hershey. Pennsylvania on October 31. 1995
We at Electric Boat have been supporting Tomorrow’s Navy since the year 1900, when John Holland delivered the first submarine to the Navy. Ninety-five years-and over 300 submarines later-we are hard at work supporting Tomorrow’s Navy with Trident, SEAWOLF and the New Attack Submarine.
Before getting into logistics, it might be useful to define the term. Let’s start with the Joint Chiefs of Staff definition of logistics as, “The science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces. ” The military historian, Professor Stanley Falk, provides an expansive definition stating, “In its broader sense, it has been called the economics of warfare” and includes “practically everything related to military activities besides strategy and tactics”.In essence then, the three basic elements of warfare come down to strategy, tactics and logistics.
Logistics itself can be considered at the strategic or tactical level. The Civil War provides several examples. At the tactical level, Confederate General Nathan Beford Forrest was known for his ability to “Git thar fustest with the mostest men”.While that’s a great sound bite, those weren’t exactly Forrest’s words. General Forrest was known as “one of the Civil War’s most industrious gatherers and conservers of every military resource, from rifles to hogs”.’ Forrest’s actual statement was simple and direct, “I just got there first with the most men.”” That’s a good way to describe logistics at the tactical level.
At the strategic level stood General Grant. Grant was convinced that “the Union had wasted its greatest strategic advantage-its larger resources of manpower and material”. Grant’s strategy was to use “all the Federal armies in concert to apply a simultaneous and relentless pressure to leverage the power of the industrial North in a way never before seen in war”. General Grant’s successful campaign was nothing less than logistics on the grand scale.
Indeed, the combination of the North’s factories, railroads, steamships and the telegraph with the manpower of Grant’s armies was revolutionary. But this strategic application of logistics has only recently been recognized as a revolution in military affairs. Interestingly, the important elements of Grant’s revolution came from the private sector; they were not products of the public shipyards and arsenals. I believe there is a lesson there.
Since I have recently managed a shipyard that builds submarines, my focus is on submarine logistics; but, my message applies to military platforms in general. And, I’ll limit my remarks to submarine acquisition. Modernization, repair and overhaul could be the topic for another article.
First-before discussing where we are headed-a little review of submarine logistics in the past.
Ever since World War I, independent operations have been fundamental to submarine warfare. Submarines sailed independently, transited to their mission area, and at the end of their patrol, returned to port-all without outside support. There was no underway replenishment-no COD delivery of critical repair parts. The submariner had to take it with him or go without. This demanding operational concept required submarines to be designed for reliability and endurance. And it placed great importance on proper provisioning.
A few may remember that submarines were classified as ships without a central storeroom. Until the early 1960s they had no Supply Corps officer or storekeeper. Spare parts, as they were called then, were issued directly to the departments as they were received. As you can imagine, inventory control wasn’t very good.
Submarine logistics were managed independend by different bureaus-BUSHIPS, BUORD, BUSANDA, BUMED-and each generated its own allowance lists. Production of technical manuals, maintenance routines and operating procedures was fragmented among the Bureaus, the type commander and the ship’s force. Again, the results weren’t great.
When it came to new construction, the basic responsibility of the shipbuilder was to deliver a well-built submarine per the Navy specifications. Shipbuilder involvement with initial provisioning and maintenance was limited.
If this sounds like an uncoordinated approach to submarine logistics, you’re right! It worked because the ships were sturdy and relatively simple, and a lot of Navy people labored hard to make it work.
The 1960s brought several major changes. First, nuclear power replaced diesel power. Second, submarine-launched ballistic missiles were introduced. Third, the complexity of nuclear power and strategic missiles brought private industry into the submarine business on a full time basis. Fourth, the loss of THRESHER led to the SUBSAFE program. And finally, a 1964 DOD directive mandated Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) for systems and equipment.. Together, these changes had a profound impact on shipbuilder involvement in submarine logistics-with positive and lasting results.
The size and complexity of submarines had taken a step change. The integration of submarine logistics followed close behind, as the old ways were inadequate. Naval Reactors and the Strategic Systems Program Office led the way in developing military-industrial teams that set new standards for solid engineering and sound management.
At this time, for the shipbuilder, logistics was not a contractual element of design and construction. However, the submarine. designers provided for important factors like:
- providing access to equipment for maintenance
- selecting equipment that would pass through a 30 inch hatch, and
- developing system and equipment operating manuals.
By the 1970s, these and other improvements were formally brought together with the SSN 688 and Trident SSBN programs. Trident was the first submarine class acquired under a comprehensive program that integrated the ship’s design, weapons, provisioning, maintenance, repair, training and basing over the life of the ship.
Trident program requirements called for higher ship availability and lower life-cycle cost. That meant longer palrols, shorter refit periods and less time in shipyard overhaul. Higher ship availability demanded greater reliability and better maintainability. Lower life-cycle cost required a comprehensive management system. All of this required the ship desiper, the shipbuilder, key contractors and the Navy-working together-to consider the entire life of the ship-from design to disposition. This team effort was a new way of doing business.
Typical aspects of this integrated approach at EB were:
- initiating a formal logistics program concurrent with ship design
- designing 60 inch diameter logistics batches for rapid provisioning and equipment replacement
- developing the concept of incremental overhauls
- providing design support to Trident training and refit facilities, and
- assisting the Navy in managing alterations and maintenance.
We all know that this new approach worked. The Trident program has been a tremendous success. Electric Boat has delivered 17 Trident submarines, each one better than the last. And to illustrate how important process improvements in ship construction can be, the 17th Trident was built with less than 50 percent of the man-hours required to build the first ship of the class.
The Trident integrated logistics system has continued to mature in the 15 years since USS OHIO was commissioned. Maintenance routines have been fine tuned to eliminate unnecessary work. Il.S has moved into the digital age as computers and CD ROMs have replaced paper COSALs and punched tapes. The mature Trident ILS now serves as a stepping stone to the future, as EB explores an expanded planning yard concept and the potential to support Navy regional maintenance. And, the Trident logistics system provides a baseline for the New Attack Submarine.
Thus, we have seen the development of integrated logistics, from diesel boats to the Trident program. We have also seen a great increase in the participation of industry in the submarine logistics process. The integration of the public and private sectors has paid off handsomely. The readiness and reliability of the United States Submarine Force are the envy of the world’s navies-including our own.
I suspect that you all know what comes next. Just about the time that our hard work on integrated logistics was really getting results, the Cold War ended. We were all grateful that four decades of deadly confrontation were over. But-we were suddenly faced with a changed world.
The changes of the post Cold War era have impacted every element of the defense establishment. Military budgets and forces were cut; major defense programs were terminated; bases are being closed; and the defense industry is being rationalized. These changes have been tough-especially on our people-in and out of uniform.
Let me explain how General Dynamics faced these changes. First, at the corporate level, we quickly recognized there was significant over-capacity in the defense industry. Major rationalization was urgently required.
Therefore, we took prompt action to establish a critical mass by selling, or buying, businesses that were not first or second in their defense market sector. After a series of transactions, we are concentrating on our core products-armored vehicles at the Land Systems Division, submarines at Electric Boat, and now, surface warships at Bath Iron Works. This proved to be a successful strategy for General Dynamics, for our stockholders, and for the Department of Defense.
At the production level, Electric Boat faced major problems. Attack submarine force levels were cut by 45 percent, and the Trident program was limited to 18 ships. We were caught at a high building rate, but with the future workload headed toward zero.
Let me give you some numbers. In 1992 there were 13 submarines under construction at Electric Boat. By the end of 1996 there will be three, including SSN 23, the third and final Seawolf. In 1992 Electric Boat employed 22,000 workers. Today we have 10,000, and we’re headed toward 6 or 7,000 by the end of the decade.
The challenges we faced went far beyond reducing the size of the work force. We determined that to remain competitive, we must re-engineer the company to build submarines at one-half ship per year, as efficient! y as we had built three or four per year. Otherwise, our submarines would be unaffordable.
It became evident that radical action was required. Simply shrinking in place was not enough. With the help of a consulting firm we undertook a top-to-bottom re-engineering of the company. Every facet of the business was examined: organization, work practices, facilities, pay and benefits, overhead. We looked at every opportunity to drive out costs; and then set specific targets for cost reduction.
I’m proud to say that the targets are being hit, and Electric Boat is moving confidently ahead. Based on our re-engineering, EB has already reduced the forward-pricing rates charged to the government. In fact, I was so confident of our results that I told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 1995, that I would sign a contract to build the New Attack Submarine for the same rates that we charged in 1989, at our peak workload, corrected only for inflation.
Now, let me give you a specific example of our action. One key element in our drive for affordability is the single-shipyard, design/build approach being used on the lead New Attack Submarine.
Traditionally, the Navy contracts with a shipbuilder to design a submarine that meets the Navy’s operational requirements. Separate contracts are then awarded to one or more shipbuilders to construct the submarines to the Navy’s design. Inevitably, some defects in the design are encountered during construction. Defect correction involves the designer, the builders, and the Navy. This results in delay, change orders, claims against the Navy, and considerable cost growth. Today, this is unacceptable.
The design/build concept places sole responsibility for the design and construction of the lead submarine directly on the shipbuilder. The design/build approach to the New Attack Submarine is being implemented through Integrated Product and Process Development teams. We call them design/build teams. These teams are made up of designers, engineers, construction and maintenance personnel, logisticians, and representatives from key suppliers and the Navy. Working together, the design/build teams are designing a submarine that meets the Navy’s military requirements, is producible at least cost, and is less costly to maintain over its service life.
With design/build, logistics is an integral part of the New Attack Submarine design process from the very beginning. This is vitally important if we are to control the cost of ownership of weapon systems with service lives of 30 years or more. And, with lifetime operating and logistics costs exceeding the purchase price, it is essential to attack these costs up front-during the design. Otherwise, the Navy will be unable to afford the fleet it needs.
Looking back over this brief survey of submarine logistics, I’d say that we have come a long way from the days of submarines without storekeepers or integrated allowance lists! From my perspective, the steady increase in the involvement of the private sector has been an important factor. With the design/build process as an example, I see this trend toward privatization continuing in the future, and expanding into modernization, maintenance and repair.
There are three messages that I would like to leave with you today. First, Navy-industry cooperation works. The Trident program is a great example. Design/build is another. Second, life-cycle costs and logistics must be an integral element of platform design. And third, increased privatization of life-cycle support functions is necessary to affordability. We should be planning for it now.