SAS12: Navy systems commands tighten the reins

SAS12: Navy systems commands tighten the reins

The Navy’s systems command leaders joined the chorus of Pentagon officials warning the defense industry that the defense spending gravy train has skidded to a halt.

Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, said the service will crack down on frivolous spending and cost overruns on Navy contracts.  The $487 billion cut in defense spending over the next ten years has left the Navy little choice.

“If you think you’re going to do business the way you’ve done it for the past ten years, think again,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley, head of Marine Corps Systems Command.

Vice Adm. Patrick Brady, head of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, wants program managers to know that they will be held accountable for funding decisions. Systems commands must instill “accountability down to the individual” when deciding on contracts, Brady said.

Service contracts will receive an especially tough look. McCoy said the service needs to add more competition to service contract and, in some areas, reduce the number of contractors.

Plenty of industry officials contact McCoy and tell him what he needs. McCoy has a message for those industry leaders: Worry about delivering the assigned contracts and then we’ll talk.

The Navy has received plenty of attention for cost overruns on a litany of contracts. Retired Vice Adm. Pete Daly, president and CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute, asked how the service could cut down on this costly mistakes at the Sea Air Space panel titled “The Systems Command Challenge: Meeting Requirements in an Era of Austerity.”

NAVSEA inspected 40-plus field activities issuing contacts. McCoy said NAVSEA and the rest of the systems command have to do a better job instilling “central control” and “central standards.” It gets back to accountability, he said.

If an acquisition officer wants to issue a one-bid contract in NAVSEA, he will have to justify it to McCoy. If anyone wants to hire a contractor in NAVSEA at an “exorbitant fee,” he or she will also have to step into either McCoy’s office or that of  Bryan Person, the NAVSEA’s civilian executive director.

Boyd said his directorate must do a better job at putting on the right software and systems to ships being built. The SPAWAR commander said it doesn’t make sense to “deliver a ship and then I’m going to pay somebody to rip off systems the fleet doesn’t want so I can pay a third guy to put on systems.”

In this age of austerity, the Navy can’t afford anymore not to get it right the first time, panel members said.

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Apparently the Navy has some sanity in this, that some know that know the money is drying up. The USAF and army commander do not, and keep building project w/o cost considerations. Give the navy one on this.

USCG needs the money the most of anyone.

Cut costs, Cut out the bloated defense industrial complex including a lot of retired 06’s and above. Also go back to the BUSHIPS concept of the Navy designing, in house, it’s ships. I understand Zumwault is on time and on budget, of course with less capabilities, but room for expansion. The Navy needs ships and the LRC’s are not ships. Built the hulls with plenty of expansion room, including electrical power, and get them to sea. More robust and effective systems can be added as they are vetted. The national security cutter might be a start or an expanded Burke with electric propulsion. If we are to remain a sea power and be able to project that power world wide more than 313 ships are required. I guess Mahan is not on the reading list for the ring knocker anymore. Nations decline when their ability to project and influence events world wide is lost. Seems like too many System commands and sub system commands. I wonder what the ratio of acquisition types to fleet types was when during WW2. We had over 100 carriers at sea and untold numbers of cruisers and destroyers. Currently every system has a 06 or above riding herd on it making changes upon changes. I guess it is active duty and retirement job security.

If the Navy can actually get their budget straight and save some money — fantastic. I find it damning though that it took having the credit card taken away from them to finally make it an issue. General Kelly’s comment makes it sound like it’s industry’s fault for where we are. It’s the responsibility of the person who signs the checks and writes the contracts to get it right. This sounds like the generals and admirals said “Now that we’re broke, we’re going to get our spending straight.”

(You can apply my comment to the whole DoD, but this article is about the Navy)

Better late than never, I suppose. Too bad it took them fifteen years to reach this realization. But, then, we’ve heard this banter before. Three years ago, the Navy gave up on the Zumwalt class DDGs and was furious over the LCS overruns. 18 months later, both were reinstated and everyone who condemned them had mysteriously left the stage.…

um we have never had that many carriers as far as i know maybe if you included light carriers but they dont influence much

everyone in the LCS mafia is a ‘made man’ i.e. untouchable

those who oppose the mafia’s rule will end up in the truck of a car (career speaking that is)

Let me get this straight — this sounds like we’re acknowledging that we’ve paid out on frivolous spending and cost overruns over the past ten years and not held anyone accountable.


We’ll fire a CO for hitting a buoy, but let flags waste millions (if not billions) of dollars without action. And how many of the same flags who let this happen now have Beltway bandit jobs or senior civilian gov’t jobs? How is this acceptable?

By the end of 1944 the United States had 90 carriers available for deployment (25 Fleet, 65 Escort), there were a total of 6084 ships in the Navy at that time, over 1/3 were amphibious.

It is hard for me to believe that the Navy possibly can have a desire for austerity measures. This article insinuates that Admirals McCoy and Brady are budget hawks looking to manage and reduce their budgets while spending with greater accountability. In general they are said to be looking more closely at current and future contracts. Even USMC General Kelley was quoted as desiring for more fiscal awareness. Do these leaders really want less funding as a means to properly spend taxpayer dollars, or are they being told that this is their new arrangement?

Our government is set up to allow both the Legislative and Executive Branches to formulate budgets for our nation annually. The Navy really has no say on whether it receives 300 billion dollars or 150 billion dollars annually, this is entirely up to a joint approval of Congress and requires the Executive’s and his cabinet’s approval as well. This austerity appears to come from desires of the current administration to cut across the board regardless of national security needs, in order to pay for other programs.

This was initially laid out as a plan in 2008 by the Center for American Progress and has slowly come to pass over the past three years. As a former sailor, it doesn’t make any sense that there are claims that the Navy is willing to impose such harm to its forces in the future. I realize that military spending is not the most streamlined process and cost effective, but hundreds of sailors and soldiers require this funding to maintain adequate security for our nation.

There is nothing wrong with maximizing the use of budgetary funds and trying to spend money wisely. This should be a common practice, but what happens when funding is so tied up by political arguments that preparations for any sort of action become limited. When austerity is imposed on the Navy as well as the other branches in this fashion I fear that we as a nation are leaving ourselves very vulnerable to the unthinkable. If anything we should be cutting frivolous spending within the bureaucracy as there are approximately 25 million civilian public sector employees in Federal, State, and Local governments. This is about 10 times the amount of Active Duty and Reserve military which is currently at approximately 2.3 Million.

There are plenty of places within our government can have the fat trimmed from other than the military, unemployment is high enough as it is and the market place for employment is abysmal. I don’t think we can afford to consistently force members of a volunteer force out of military service early due to an administration’s desire to impose fiscal austerity on the Department of Defense.


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