• 4 Jun 2018 10:25 AM | Stephanie Kiffer (Administrator)

    On Wednesday May 16, 2018 the ASNE Tidewater section held a joint meeting with the Virginia Ship Repair Association (VSRA). There were over 90 people in attendance to represent both organizations. The guest speaker was RDML Jim Downey. He is the Deputy Commander, Surface Warfare (SEA 21) and the Commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center (CNRMC). The RDML discussed the structure of the organizations he oversees, the current workload, trends around cost and schedules, extending life of surface vessels and the initiatives involving these vessels.


    The two organizations RDML Downey oversees have multiple layers that touch virtually every part of the shipbuilding industry, particularly when focusing on repair and sustainment. The SEA 21 side of his responsibility covers both the active and inactive fleets around the world. Current total value for FY16-22 is estimated at $21.78 Billion dollars. I found it interesting to learn that many of the inactive vessels are actually sold to other countries to meet their defense and security needs. The CNRMC side consists of 6 maintenance centers for the US. This group focuses on what maintenance is needed on a yearly basis, who has capacity to perform said maintenance and do those locations have room in their schedule. It is a constantly changing schedule that never has enough room for all the maintenance that needs to be performed. RDML Downey talked about how he has two offices but rarely spends time in either due to his demanding travel schedule. With two organizations to keep running full speed ahead I can see why he spends so much time on capital hill lobbying for the much needed resources to keep the fleet afloat.

    The current workload and trends look promising for the future and achieving the 355 ship directive passed recently. The RDML discussed the two most active areas for the 43 ships in execution stage currently are San Diego and Norfolk/Portsmouth. Very good news for our area! There are 92 ships in advanced planning that involves all the coastal area of the US. An interesting fact- 53 ships are sitting in storage for retention and disposal today. The majority of these ships are slated for dismantle and training purposes. In 2015 there was a slump in the number of surface ships; a record low. Looking at the outlook for FY15-24 the number of surface ships in on an increase. By FY24 three of the five RMCs will be showing an upward trend in the number of surface ships.

    One of the biggest questions is how are we going to achieve 355 ships? The timeline is to have 355 ships by 2047. This will be accomplished by a mix of new construction and what is being called SLE (Surface Life Extension). Bottom line is there is not enough capacity to build 355 new ships so we have to work to extend the life of some of the ships currently in service. Breaking it down by class combatants and submarines will be the two largest by number of ships. Assessing each ship individually for service life extension will require more manpower, time and cost for the Navy. RDML Downey plays a critical role in making sure this assessment happens in a timely manner to give an accurate picture of the fleet today and the future. It’s not can we achieve 355, it’s how will we do it and be on time?

    There are many unanswered questions still regarding how the Navy and the private sector will be able to work together to keep the fleet running smoothly. We have much room for improvement both at the government level and the yard level. RDML was asked if the perspective of Washington DC displayed on the news was accurate. He said its actually worse in person in his opinion. When asked if he felt improvement was achievable in regards to meeting repair schedules with costly deviations he replied there needs to be a better process for working through deviations in a timely manner. He shared the frustration of seeking a deviation for simple pump that takes more than 30 days to process. Ultimately I think continued work towards standardization where possible and common goals only benefits every level of this industry. I thank RDML Downey for breaking this huge topic into understandable sections and look forward to the opportunity to cross his path again.

    May 2018 Dinner - 1.jpg

  • 18 May 2018 5:31 PM | Lon Scofield (Administrator)


    ASNE Tidewater Section was privileged to be a ​2018 Open House sponsor for the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop (TWBW) located in Norfolk, VA. We as a Section were able to donate $250 to help them celebrate the accomplishments of their young boat builders and see the craftsmanship on several of the boats in progress for the 3rd Annual Open House event. 

    ​TWBW relies on community volunteers and generous support of donors to make a difference in the lives of local youths not only for a safe place to go after school, but also “Teaching Life Skills Through Boatbuilding”. This includes teamwork, leadership, math skills, blueprint reading, using hand tools, and a sense of accomplishment and hard work. The workshop is provided in partnership with the Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority, and allows kids to imagine something different for their lives as they learn new skills. Once the boats are completed they are water tested and used by the students in the program. If a student is not in a boat rowing or sailing, they are shore side working on a battery of water quality tests to see the progress of environmental clean up of the Elizabeth river. 

    Thank You Members for participation the ASNE TW section. With out your support we could not reach out and support others in the Maritime Community !! 

    ​Want to learn more  ???​ 

    ASNE and the TWBW will team up again on June 9-10th, where they will set up a demonstration tent next to our ASNE-Sika Build-A-Boat Challenge. 

    You can also learn more at www.twbw.org​

    ​Face Book -Tidewater-Wooden-Boat-Workshop

  • 17 Dec 2017 12:44 PM | Lon Scofield

    The ASNE Tidewater section and the Hampton Roads section of the Submarine League wishes to extend a sincere thank you to RDML David Goggins for taking time to share facts about the upcoming Columbia class submarine. This was well-attended (over 90 participated) joint event with the Submarine League / Hampton Roads Chapter. 

    David is the program director for the Columbia Class Submarine. His knowledge of the various submarine classes is extensive and impressive. It was entertaining hearing him talk about his son’s comparison of building a cruise ship in two years which is less than half the time it takes to complete any class of submarine. It appears the Navy now has an unofficial build goal to achieve! The mission for the new class is to replace the Ohio class and provide the “most survivable leg of the Nation’s strategic triad“. On time delivery was a stressed key point throughout his talk leaving no room for error when it comes to meeting design deadlines and delivery of supplied components from the over 5,000 suppliers nationwide. Other aspects to achieve this on time delivery goal includes reducing last minute changes to design and involving the supplier base earlier on in the process than done with the Virginia class. When designing this new class the best features of the Ohio and Virginia classes were utilized where possible to create more consistency between the submarine classes and reduce repair costs.

    The Columbia class will be the most unique submarine the US has operated to date. It will be longer, heavier, wide diameter and designed to have a service life of approximately 42 years. Twelve are scheduled to be built; two less than the Ohio class! The first one is scheduled to be ready for patrol in 2031. No doubt we are good hand with David at the lead.

    More information on the Columbia class can be found at: http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/hq/Documents/COLUMBIA%20Placemat.pdf

    Photos from the dinner meeting can be found at our FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/TidewaterSectionASNE/

    This post was edited by Stephanie Kiffer

  • 20 Oct 2017 1:46 PM | Alexandria Fell

    The ASNE Tidewater Section wishes to extend it's sincere gratitude to Rear Admiral Whitney for taking the time to talk to us this past Wednesday at our monthly dinner meeting.

    RADM Whitney is the FFC Director of Fleet Maintenance. He gave an extremely interesting talk on the Navy's efforts to develop self sufficient sailors at sea and the mind shift of focusing on performing the required maintenance and ensuring the ship's crew is trained and how that leads to more units being able to deploy on time. As the world changes, the role of the Navy is becoming increasingly more relevant. Gone are the days when the battle was solely fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. US Navy vessels have found themselves being fired upon by missile wielding extremists. Training (or the lack there of) has serious consequences. In today's budget limited environment, "Data carries the day." RADM Whitney, the Secretary of the Navy and many others are really working towards gathering the necessary data and pushing towards faster decision making.

    At the end of his lecture, RADM Whitney lead a debate on the idea of collaboration particularly between the Military and Civilian Sector that is dedicated to keeping these ships running. They discussed ways to improve this collaboration as well as ideas to ensure today's sailors had the necessary skill set to maintain their own equipment. (A necessity when the ship may not be allowed any communication with the outside world.) Time will tell what the finished product looks like, but it sounds like the Navy is on the right track.

    Photos can be found on our Facebook site: ASNE Tidewater

Email: ASNE.tidewater.social@gmail .com

Office: (703) 836-6727

Fax: (703) 836-7491

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