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NEWS | March 26, 2021

Secretary of the Navy visits Norfolk Naval Shipyard

By Michael Brayshaw, NNSY Lead Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker visited Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) March 17.

During an activity-packed afternoon, Harker met with NNSY’s senior leaders, toured facilities and spoke with shipyarders working to deliver strategic naval assets back to the Fleet. 

Alongside Shipyard Commander Captain Dianna Wolfson and Nuclear Engineering and Planning Manager Jeremy Largey, Harker visited the waterfront to receive updates on the shipyard’s availabilities.  These include the aircraft carriers USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75); two Los Angeles Class submarines, USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and USS Toledo; and USS San Francisco (SSN 711), undergoing conversion to a Moored Training Ship to train the next generations of Fleet operators. 

“I’m really thrilled to be here with you all,” said Harker while meeting with members of the Pasadena project team to discuss the boat’s undocking.  “There’s an opportunity to make improvements in our depot level maintenance processes that will increase our ability to deliver ships on time and on budget, and acquire lessons learned to drive future changes that will serve as an example for everyone else.” 

During this engagement, Wolfson and Harker discussed the Vice Chief of Naval Operations concept of “Get Real, Get Better” to candidly examine and discuss problems to implement lasting solutions.  Harker pledged to do his part to help the project teams working to deliver assets like Pasadena back to the Fleet to execute their missions.  “As you identify problems and barriers to success in your work, there are people across the enterprise asking how can they remove those problems now and for the future,” said Harker. “We’re looking across naval leadership at the things we can put in place to knock down those barriers.”

During his visit, Harker also observed progress as part of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, a 20-year, $21 billion undertaking for refurbishing the nation’s four public shipyards with modernized equipment, improved workflow and upgraded dry docks and facilities.  One of NNSY’s biggest SIOP projects is its Production Training Facility opening later this year, a $64.7 million state-of-the-art facility combining classrooms and mock-up areas, housing education and application under one roof.  An even bigger project is the $200 million renovation of the shipyard’s century-old Dry Dock 4 to support Ohio, Virginia and Columbia Class boats.  This renovation entails replacing the dry dock walls, floor and caisson, upgrading mechanical and electrical equipment and completely restoring the pumpwell. 

During the visit, Wolfson detailed NNSY’s implementation of its new Strategic Framework to focus on four areas of improvement aligning to the shipyard’s mission and supporting Navy priorities.  These areas, referred to as pillars of the framework, are Infrastructure, Dependable Mission Delivery, People Development, and Process Improvement and Innovation.  “With our focus geared toward these specific areas in our framework, we should see significant results in safety, quality, delivery, cost, and with a workforce that is invested,” said Wolfson.   

“It was both a great honor and privilege to host Secretary Harker,” said Wolfson.  “Allowing him the opportunity to see our path forward as an organization verified we’re working on the right things in America’s Shipyard.  While showing Mr. Harker our efforts of increasing productivity through investment in people and improving business processes, this visit also   demonstrated to our shipyard team how much our work is valued by the highest levels of leadership in our Navy.”