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19 Association of the United States Navy completion dates and make sure operational forces can have all of their time for training. If we infringe on the time for training, we run the risk of encroaching on a ship with deployment dates. On the personnel side, what challenges or successes have you had in maintaining the maintainers — keeping an experienced civilian workforce active and engaged? e other key area we're working on is how well our Sailors on ships are able to maintain the ship, how it affects their self-sufficiency. What we've done on that is we have a Navy maintenance strategy program that we reinitiated several years ago, graduating more than 500 folks per year. We train Sailors assigned to mainte- nance centers to do intermediate-level maintenance on ships, then teach Sailors on ship to do that work, and develop a sea-shore rotation between those mainte- nance-related trades. What emerging technologies or capabilities have had the most impact on the work done at the maintenance centers? I would say fiber-optic capabilities have improved a bit. ree-dimensional scanning of spaces for ship checks, LIDAR [light detection and ranging], which has been around for quite a while but has applications to determine ship configuration. ree-dimensional capture versus going through and trying to record if there's any deviations in space. e support equipment for new tech coming in, such as water jets. Some of the higher-end gas turbines coming in. ose are some of the key areas. What activity has occurred under the Private Sector Improvement Initiatives since they were introduced in January? What are your goals with the program? ere's several key areas, and it's focused on how do we work better together, how do we reduce some of over- sight or overhead time? A key area we worked on was Navy standard items. ere's over 100 standard items, and instead of going back and forth with industry, we formed a joint team with them and are able to go into the Navy industry working group and tell us what needed to change, such as oversight of welding proce- dures, painting procedures. Another item we're working on with them is change management. As you go and work a work package, the delay in approving it can be a delay in the shipyard, and sometimes these are complex areas that don't take hours or days but weeks to review and approve. We've gone into new approaches with industry on pre-pricing the changes. Our data indicates that the majority of changes are of a low value. Seventy percent of the changes are around $12,000 where you have a multi-million-dollar availability. If that's the average cost, why wouldn't you take something from weeks of approval to pre-pricing in the contract, and you get a hundred of those changes, whatever is relevant to the scope of the avail, and you're pre-approved? Another key focus has been dry docks. We have a significant increase in availabilities and a certain percentage of those are docking availabilities, so we're going to industry on dry dock durations. What can we do to reduce those durations? e second part of that is which ships afford us opportunity to double-dock. Some are DDGs, some are LCSs, so we're really focused on items that impact the schedule, get into changes, get into standard items, get into capacity. If you could deliver a message to your industry part- ners about what they can do to help you, what would that message be? ey're key to the Navy being operational. ey enable our ships to go to sea, so everything they can do to continue to partner, to make sure requirements are defined correctly and stick to schedule on availabilities, and we continue to work the process improvements that allow us to do that. at's really key to Navy success. n Daniel P. Taylor is an Arlington, Va.-based freelance writer specializing in Navy and Marine Corps acquisition and development programs. "We've significantly increased our visits to ships and technical assessments and surveys to determine how accurate our projections are."

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