Q1: What has the Navy done so far to address these known issues?
A1: The Navy provided a public shipyard investment plan to Congress in April 2013, identifying investments needed to improve the shipyards' facilities condition. In August 2017, the Navy initiated Phase I of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, an architectural/engineering study which identifies courses of action for shipyard infrastructure configuration and modernization that will support current and future ship maintenance processes and methods. The objective of Phase I was to produce a virtual, unconstrained optimization of infrastructure solutions at the NSYs to improve process flow and production efficiencies. The Navy submitted the first phase of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan to Congress in February 2018. Subsequent phases of the planning process will perform simulation and modeling to define the infrastructure requirement that will optimally meet the mission, outline these requirements in Area Development Plans (ADPs) for each shipyard, and develop projects to support programming and synchronized execution of the plan.
Q2: How will this effort be structured?
A2: The shipyard infrastructure optimization program of record is a holistic, centrally managed program led by NAVSEA with support from NAVFAC, and CNIC at the field. The Navy administratively established shipyard infrastructure optimization program office operations in May 2018 and will complete all staffing and standup efforts in FY20. In this construct, NAVSEA is the operating agent, technical authority for all shipyards, and executes the capital equipment program, NAVFAC provides facility engineering and construction programs, supports environmental and compliance requirements and retains Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) authority for facilities and dry dock investments, and CNIC is the shore integrator and directs/executes the Navy's shore environmental program.
Phase II of the Plan will build upon Phase I and culminate in final optimized infrastructure plans for each shipyard and will incorporate shipyard dry dock and capital equipment investment plans within the Naval Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program of Record (PMS 555). Requirements will be finalized through a detailed industrial engineering analysis that will develop optimized processes that ensure execution of each shipyard's workload and performance requirements. This analyses will result in final optimal facility and equipment layouts for each shipyard. Facility requirements for supporting facilities (e.g., administration, logistics, training, etc.) that do not require industrial engineering analysis will also be finalized.
Phase II is currently in progress and is scheduled to be complete for all four naval shipyards by the 2nd quarter of FY20 in accordance with the RTC. Phase II will optimally size, configure and locate facilities at the four NSYs, reducing the total personnel and material movement performed for each current and future fleet requirement.
Phase III of the plan will develop the individual projects in the program, and will modernize NSY capital equipment including the use of new technologies that are more adaptable and flexible to improve shipyard efficiency, reduce costs, meet future capabilities and support on-time delivery of ships and submarines back to the fleet.
Q3: How many dry docks does the Navy have?
A3: The Navy operates 26 dry docks worldwide. Eighteen of the dry docks are located across the four public naval shipyards. Of these eighteen, eight require significant sustainment, restoration and modernization or construction investment in order to mitigate anticipated capacity, capability and vulnerability shortfalls that will prevent executing the future availability plan, resulting in lost operational availability and increased costs. These dry docks allow for intermediate-level and depot-level maintenance on both nuclear-powered and conventionally-powered ships.
Q4: What are the Navy's dry docks used for? What were they originally used for?
A4: The four public naval shipyards are responsible for maintaining, repairing, modernizing, inactivating and recycling, and providing emergency repair for Navy ships, systems and components. Dry docks allow work to be conducted that cannot be performed while the vessel is waterborne. Through the course of time and changing priorities, the mission of the naval shipyards has evolved from ship construction to depot-level repair work, maintenance, modernization and inactivation of U.S. naval vessels. However, facilities have not necessarily been reconfigured to align with the revised mission and modernized designs of new ship classes.
Q5: Why did the Navy let its shipyards decay so badly?
A5: Over the course of many years, lack of adequate funding and the Navy's focus on prioritizing operations has resulted in aging and substandard facilities, utilities, dry docks, equipment and information technology infrastructure at all four naval shipyards, which impacts work efficiencies and results in greater maintenance costs, reliability issues and cyber vulnerabilities. The six percent minimum infrastructure investment required of the Navy by law is only sufficient to prevent further degradation in mission-essential facilities.
Q6: What is the scope of dry dock upgrades needed?
A6: Dry dock upgrades will vary by shipyard and are not fully defined at this time. However, in general, they will involve utility upgrades (e.g. electrical, salt water cooling) and structural repairs (e.g. extension, resurfacing, reinforcement, seismic upgrades) to achieve required maintenance capabilities.
Q7: What are the main risks to Norfolk Naval Shipyard?
A7: Norfolk Naval Shipyard is particularly at risk to flooding and ground subsidence. Currently, three dry docks and their respective pump wells are exposed to flooding threats from the Elizabeth River, extreme high tides, and storm swells from hurricanes and nor'easters, averaging one major flooding event per year. Studies by the Virginia Institute for Marine Science (VIMS) forecast that local sea level rise for Norfolk, Virginia, will be about 0.16 inches per year, twice the global rate. This equates to a sea level rise of approximately six inches by 2052. Storm interruptions cost $1.9 million per year on average, impacting submarine maintenance cost and schedules. Flooding can also severely damage dry dock facilities and equipment, including crane wheel motors, electrical and mechanical utilities, dry dock pump wells, and capstans. Pump wells are currently located below sea level, so flooding damage could potentially be catastrophic. Specific investments to mitigate these known risks are being considered.
Q8: What are the main risks to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility?
A8: PSNS & IMF is the only naval shipyard located in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) High Seismic Hazard Zone and has experienced damage due to earthquakes as recently as 2001. PSNS & IMF Dry Dock 6 (DD6) represents a single point of failure for CVN maintenance in the Pacific area of responsibility. Constructed in 1962, DD6 was built on unconsolidated earth and fill, which increases the likelihood of liquefaction during a seismic event and destruction of the dry dock. The utilities servicing DD6 would likewise not withstand a Level 1 earthquake.
PSNS & IMF is a strategic fleet maintenance facility, and every effort must be made to ensure the survivability of all six dry docks, which were built prior to requirements for seismic mitigation. The Navy is currently completing a study to assess the overall seismic risk to DD6, propose projects to mitigate that risk, and establish a methodology of seismic assessment to be applied to the other corporate dry docks.
Q9: What are the main issues at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard?
A9: Anticipated workload for PNSY beyond 2021 creates a significant challenge as it exceeds available dry dock capacity. PNSY's capacity is further constrained by Dry Dock 1 configuration issues, tidal restrictions and reliance on buoyancy-assist tanks. Dry Dock 1 will lose capability to support Los Angeles-class submarines in 2021. The anticipated workload for Virginia-class submarines will exceed PNSY's capacity beginning in 2025.
Q10: What are the main risks to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility?
A10: At PHNSY & IMF, extensive movement of personnel, components and materials is required due to the scattered nature of project support facilities.
The projected increase of naval assets in the Pacific area of operations is set to increase dry dock demand at PHNSY & IMF for submarine depot-level maintenance. At the same time, the number of dry docks available dry docks for submarine maintenance will shrink when DD3 becomes obsolete because it cannot accommodate Virginia-class submarines.
Q11: What are some worst-case scenarios if these upgrades are not done?
A11: Shipyard operations are at a crucial transition point because newer ships, specifically Virginia-class submarines and Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, cannot be supported by current dry docks without significant modification to existing infrastructure. The projected dry dock capacity shortfall will have an impact on the fleet, delaying submarine and aircraft carrier deployments and preventing warships from executing their missions.