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NEWS | March 1, 2021

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Upgrades with Maritime Systems Environment

By Hannah Bondoc, Public Affairs Specialist

After more than five years in the making, Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) migration to Maritime Systems Environment (MSE) may soon be complete.

MSE is a computer system update described as, “a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) mandated technical upgrade of corporate applications to improve cybersecurity and software maintenance processes,” according to an NNSY executive brief. “All corporate applications will be web-based with minor modifications to the interface ‘look and feel’ whereas Advanced Industrial Management/Execution Priorities (AIM/EP), Supervisor Desk (SUPDESK) and Business Objects have minor functionality changes.”

As NNSY’s Operations Department (Code 300) Implementation Support Group (ISG) Manager Phil Imhof explained, “Our corporate applications (such as AIM and SUPDESK) will be upgraded to improve cybersecurity. These applications will look more like a webpage than the current legacy versions.”

The biggest challenge in this transition has been the lengthy process of ensuring the system is prepared to deploy. “There has been an extensive amount of testing by all four shipyards, as well as the development and deployment of training,” Imhof said. “Local applications that have been developed at NNSY, as well as interface with the corporate applications migrating to MSE, require reconfiguration, recoding and testing.” Such applications include the Automated Deficiency Log & Integrated New Work Control—New Work (ADLINC) that is used in the business offices, as well as the Business & Strategic Planning Office – Management System (BSPO MS) and the Historical Information Tool KIT (HITKIT) applications that are used by engineering and production departments.

Migrating to MSE also means moving to a remote data server; however, it will not change the functionality of the previously mentioned software applications. “A driving requirement for MSE was to be a seamless transition for the workforce with no changes to the business process,” said Code 300’s MSE Deputy Kyle Alexander. “While a few of the applications have some new bells and whistles, the overwhelming majority of the applications are exactly the same.”

One improvement with the new system is the ease of access with Common Access Card (CAC) enabled single sign on. “MSE is not an improvement initiative, but users will only need to use their CAC, their correct certificate and PIN to access the environment,” Imhof stated. “Switching between the different applications that a user has access to will no longer require user identifications and passwords. All those passwords users have had to keep for numerous applications are a thing of the past.”

Another change to the workforce will be Electronic Supplemental Training Information Resource (ESTR), the training reporting local application. Unfortunately, it was not possible to reconfigure the application to access Automated Training Management System (ATMS) in MSE, so reports in Business Objects will replace the reports in ESTR. “This will be difficult at first for most ESTR users as they don’t normally have access to the legacy Business Objects application,” Imhof explained. “However, Production Training Division (Code 900T) is developing training aids to ease this transition.”

The MSE migration across the shipyard is scheduled for Friday, April 9 at 6 p.m., when the legacy apps will be turned off. “Project Management Office – Information Technology (PMO IT), Information Technology and Cybersecurity Department (Code 109) and NNSY applications functional subject matter experts (SME) will work together to migrate our legacy data to MSE, then validate the data and functionality prior to turning MSE on for all users the following Monday morning, April 12,” said Imhof.

After the move to MSE, Imhof stated that his team will work to implement Electronic Technical Work Document (ETWD)—an application that processes Task Group Instructions (TGI) for mechanics executing work on the deckplate. “Migration to MSE is just the technical predecessor to migrating to ETWD. Testing in all four shipyards will start in April, with deployment planned for a future availability that has yet to start planning in AIM,” he said.

Although this change was meticulously set up for making things technologically easier for the employees, the ease of this transition depends on the workforce. “Users should log onto the MSE Test Environment after it goes live, and make sure their roles and access to applications match what they have today,” Alexander instructed. “They should familiarize themselves with the new layout.”

As this past year has proven, change is rarely easy. With this shift in technology however, perhaps it will make a few things easier for NNSY.