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NEWS | June 14, 2021

Our Strategic Framework Pillars: Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Infrastructure Team: Identifying Information Technology (IT) Improvements

By Jason Scarborough, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Strategic Framework is a tool to communicate the shipyard’s mission and vision statements, and shows how initiatives executed across the command tie together with why NNSY exists—to deliver warships.  In order to bridge the gap between mission and vision, NNSY has identified four critical focus areas—our pillars.  These pillars are the highest priority strategic focus areas we must urgently work to improve.  They are Infrastructure; Dependable Mission Delivery; People Development; and Process Improvement and Innovation.  

The Infrastructure Pillar Team (IPT) was created to enable the delivery of world-class infrastructure at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) to meet the shipyard’s mission and support its production needs. The IPT’s vision is that NNSY’s infrastructure supports on-time warship delivery to meet today’s mission. 

NNSY’s Infrastructure Pillar focuses on facilities, utilities, equipment, information systems, and communication systems that enable NNSY’s success.  Given the infrastructure challenges of modernizing a 253-year-old facility, the Infrastructure Pillar was established to support the execution of calculated infrastructure investments based on time, manpower, and financial requirements. 

Recently, the IPT identified various initiatives that are aligned to the pillar vision. Information Technology (IT) is one of the most needed improvement initiatives identified. Specifically, the IPT is hoping to improve secure connectivity of industrial machinery to networks and computer controls.  Doing so would enable remote machine monitoring, data collection, and control. Models and instruction code can be shared between projects and between yards for greater standardization, efficiency, and technical data reuse.  Secure connectivity will ensure inherent weaknesses of native machine processors do not introduce vulnerabilities into the Navy’s business networks.  Older machines do not easily interface directly with new technology and these older machines would benefit from an efficiency improvement.

Another IT initiative being addressed is the expansion of NNSY’s mobile infrastructure.  The IPT is pursuing a new contract that will put a government smartphone in the hands of every supervisor.  Delivery of the contract is expected in the near future. First line supervisors often receive flip phones, but these do not efficiently support non-voice communications (text and email).  When implemented, supervisors will be able to receive real-time updates and communications from other leaders in the shipyard to support improved communication and first time quality.

The final IT initiative focuses on replacement of old Navy Marine Corp Intranet (NMCI) workstations with faster-responding workstations. Doing so will make NNSY’s engineering, planning, trades, and business support personnel more productive, be then able to support waterfront work with faster problem resolution, and able to provide on-time delivery of work products. Network sensors have recently provided firsthand data, proving that poor system performance can be attributed to the capabilities of the workstations themselves. Network infrastructure is often not the culprit. Workstation latency has accounted for about 80 percent of the lag time experienced by users.

It is the IPT’s focus to strike a purposeful and improved balance between operational requirements, regulations, safety and quality of life and developing these goals and initiatives supports the efficient conduct of work necessary to successfully execute today's mission and the mission(s) of tomorrow.