Naval Shipyards:

Better Definition of Mobilization Requirements and Improved Peacetime Operations Are Needed

LCD-77-450: Published: Mar 31, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

For the past several years, Congress has expressed concern over the rate at which maintenance costs for naval vessels have increased while the size of the fleet has decreased. In fiscal year 1972, the Navy spent about $1.4 billion to overhaul, modernize, convert, and repair a fleet of 654 ships. By 1976, the fleet had decreased to 476 while the cost of maintaining it increased to about $2 billion. When the ships' forces and the Navy's intermediate level maintenance activities cannot do the work, it is performed in naval or private shipyards.

Naval shipyards are to provide quick response industrial work in peacetime to support fleet needs and to provide sufficient capacity and capability to meet workload surges in a war or other emergency. Although the Navy has made broad wartime planning assumptions, it has not quantified its mobilization requirements. The Navy has no basis for knowing: the amount of work that shipyards could accomplish during mobilization, the number of skilled personnel required, how much of the work private shipyards could absorb, and at which shipyards modernization dollars could be optimally spent. The Navy has invested substantially in shipyard facilities and equipment without having developed a master plan to meet specific mobilization needs. Consequently, the Navy has no way of knowing if modernization funds are being directed to the shipyards that can best use them. Good estimating techniques are not used at several facilities, and a vital methods and standards program that once reported millions of dollars saved is not fully used.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, with the Secretary of the Navy, should routinely determine shipyard mobilization needs and prepare emergency plans for staffing such needs and insure that modernization funds are optimally spent. The Secretary of the Navy should: provide greater management support and reinforcement of work measurement concepts at shipyards, critically examine the workloads at each shipyard to determine the work on which development should be concentrated, require system discipline and integrity to overcome existing inadequacies and errors in management information systems, establish procedures to insure that material use experience is adequately considered, and insure that excess material on hand is identified and the ordering system is adjusted to allow full use of excess material.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 14, 2018

Mar 13, 2018

Mar 8, 2018

Mar 7, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 27, 2018

Feb 23, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here