28 February 2011



Earlier this month, USS NEW YORK (LPD 21) successfully completed her Final Contract Trial (FCT) and received the highest scores to date of any ship in her class. Successfully completing the FCT on her first attempt was a significant milestone for this ship and I believe it’s a sign we’re making good progress resolving many of the big issues with the SAN ANTONIO class we’ve seen in the past. In light of NEW YORK’s success, I thought this would be a good time to give you an update on SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) and some of the specific actions we’ve taken to get this very capable ship back into the Fleet.
As you’ll recall, I ordered a JAGMAN investigation on SAN ANTONIO in November 2009 after she suffered multiple engineering casualties. The investigation found that failures in the acquisition process, maintenance, training, and execution of shipboard programs all contributed to the engineering casualties. These failures also pointed to larger process problems within our Navy and the shipbuilder. In a rush to get SAN ANTONIO’s operational capabilities to the Fleet, we overlooked a lot of very critical issues and accepted a ship that was only 90% complete and ultimately did not meet the standards of quality our Sailors and Marines need and expect of a U.S. Navy ship.
It has taken a steady and concentrated approach to get this ship back on track, but I believe we’re now on the right path. Of the 32 actions recommended in the JAGMAN investigation, 20 are complete and the final 12 are in progress. Work will be completed on SAN ANTONIO in April followed by three weeks of rigorous sea trials where she will be fully tested for everything she is supposed to do.
I believe we’ve learned a lot over the past two years. We brought in the right talent and our actions are having the desired effects – we’re now seeing a big difference between how SAN ANTONIO was originally delivered to the Navy and what we now have with NEW YORK.
The SAN ANTONIO class represents our Navy’s strong and enduring commitment to expeditionary operations. Our Sailors and Marines love this ship and all the capabilities she brings to the fight. While there is still much work to be done I believe we are back in the channel and headed fair.
All the best, JCHjr


John Byron said...

Two questions:

1. Has the builder been penalized financially and in future competition for work?

2. Have those in the Department of the Navy responsible for this mess paid any penalty in their careers?

NVYGUNZ said...


I am glad the NEW YORK has accomplished this historical or shall we say iconic milestone. From you words, I assume the remaining ships shall be up to speed soon as well. Good work to all for making a turn for the good... However, a couple of my concerns, that still sticks out from one of your earlier posts "Changing Our Culture (Aug 2010)" is whether we have tipped the scale of "system performance above system costs" yet? And, how do we expect to show these new results of LPD17+ towards our future (or current) pre-commissioning ships. I think we have DDG's licked, but I recall MAKIN ISLAND having some difficulties too, although not as extreme. AMERICA is well underway in her construction, will she get some of the same attention as the SAN ANTONIO class, so she doesn't end up a headline news article? We haven't made an LHA since 1980. She'll be very similar to MAKIN ISLAND, but will not have a well-deck, etc, etc.. - potential construction issues...

One suggestion, if you don't mind, also from your previously mentioned post (Aug 2010), is: can we get the OPNAVINST 4700.8H refreshed? The one you hyperlinked was dated Dec 1990. Although many things in the instruction are still relevant, many are not. This may be another good avenue to proceed. Perhaps something to hold people accountable to.

Thanks again for your honest and timely posts!!


ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

NVYGUNZ, your concerns are well-founded - I think the jury is still out concerning our ability to consistently "tip the scale" appropriately between systems performance and systems costs. However, I do see progress on a number of different fronts and remain hopeful that we can get where we need to be with respect to demanding that our ships, aircraft and systems perform at the levels and to the specifications for which we are paying.
I take your point on the status of OPNAVINST 4700.8H; it should be updated. All the best, JCHjr