Document: GAO Report on Navy Shipbuilding Quality

November 21, 2013 12:38 PM

From the Nov. 19, 2013 Government Accountability Office report, Navy Shipbuilding: Opportunities Exist to Improve Practices Affecting Quality.
The Navy has experienced significant quality problems with several ship classes over the past several years. It has focused on reducing the number of serious deficiencies at the time of delivery, and GAO’s analysis shows that the number of deficiencies—particularly “starred” deficiencies designated as the most serious for operational or safety reasons—has generally dropped.
Nonetheless, the Navy continues to accept ships with large numbers of open deficiencies (see figure below as an example; although total deficiencies have declined for this ship class, the last ship still had about 1,000 deficiencies that the shipbuilder was responsible for correcting).

Accepting ships with large numbers of uncorrected deficiencies is a standard practice and GAO found that there are varying interpretations of Navy policy with regard to when the defects should be resolved. In 2009, the Navy organization that oversees ship construction launched the Back to Basics initiative to improve Navy oversight of ship construction. However, a key output of the initiative promoting consistent and adequate quality requirements in Navy contracts has yet to be implemented.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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