Actions Needed To Reduce Schedule Slippages and Cost Growth on Contracts for Navy Ship Overhauls

PLRD-82-29: Published: Mar 17, 1982. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1982.

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GAO was requested to evaluate the Navy's system for developing contract work specifications packages and its ship overhaul improvements programs.

GAO found that the Navy has instigated numerous initiatives to improve contracting for surface ship overhauls. However, progress in meeting overhaul schedules and in reducing contract cost growth has been slow, partly because of a lack of total system coordination and commitment to the initiatives. The Navy's system for managing ship overhauls is fragmented. As a result, expertise on each ship is dissipated among the various entities, and no one appears to be coordinating each overhaul. Under this method of operation, it is difficult for the Navy to provide key management functions which are essential for consistently ensuring effective overhauls. In contrast, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and commercial carriers essentially use a single individual, a port engineer, to manage and coordinate the planning and accomplishment of ship overhauls. Despite the Navy's apparent positive opinion of the port engineer concept and the success that commercial carriers and MSC have had with it, the Navy seems to be proceeding with the concept slowly. GAO believes that the port engineer concept provides for significant improvements in overhaul effectiveness by concentrating expertise and responsibility. The Navy's use of formal advertising also inhibits the effectiveness of ship overhauls. The Navy has conducted numerous tests of contracting alternatives and appears to be moving in the right direction toward improving its methods.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to intensify ship maintenance management by concentrating ship maintenance expertise and overhaul responsibilities in managers similar to port engineers. Their responsibilities should include managing the planning and development of cost-effective overhaul work packages.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to intensify ship maintenance management by concentrating ship maintenance expertise and overhaul responsibilities in managers similar to port engineers. Their responsibilities should include making decisions on the scope and need for overhaul contract changes to sustain overhaul cost effectiveness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to intensify ship maintenance management by concentrating ship maintenance expertise and overhaul responsibilities in managers similar to port engineers. Their responsibilities should include providing feedback on problems encountered during overhauls and explaining variances from effective overhauls and lessons learned for future consideration.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Navy to intensify ship maintenance management by concentrating ship maintenance expertise and overhaul responsibilities in managers similar to port engineers. Their responsibilities should include developing and sustaining technical expertise and knowledge of a ship's characteristics, design, and ongoing material condition.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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