SECNAV leads inaugural meeting of Government Shipbuilders Council

Written by Nick Blenkey
SECNAV Del Toro addressed Government Shipbuilders Council

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. [U.S. Navy Photograph]

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro kicked off the inaugural meeting of the Government Shipbuilders Council (GSC) at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Nov. 16. Despite its name, the new Government Shipbuilders Council does not actually have any shipbuilding company representation. Its initial members will include:

  • Navy: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (DASN) for Ships, and Military Sealift Command (MSC), Director of Ship Management
  • Coast Guard: Assistant Commandant for Acquisition (CG 9) and Assistant Commandant for Engineering & Logistics (CG-4)
  • Army: Program Executive Officer, Combat Support & Combat Service Support (CS & CSS)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Director of Marine and Aviation Operations
  • Maritime Administration: Associate Administrator for Strategic Sealift
  • Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD): Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Materiel Readiness

As multiple GAO reports, including its most recent on two USCG programs, have pointed out, Government shipbuilding programs can come in at billions of dollars over initial estimates and way behind schedule. The aim of the GSC is to improve the way U.S. government does business in ship acquisition and ship maintenance.

Secretary Del Toro underscored that the Government Shipbuilders Council’s mission to address common and singular challenges among those that contract in shipbuilding; identify opportunities to leverage each organization’s resources to maximize government savings in costs, time and resources; share best practices and lessons learned; and support strategic decision making to strengthen the shipbuilding industrial base.

“Together, we represent four different cabinet departments—Defense, Transportation, Homeland Security, and Commerce—and five separate government shipbuilders. This Council is a tremendous example of the whole-of-government effort we need to rebuild our nation’s comprehensive maritime power—a strategic imperative requiring a new maritime statecraft,” said Secretary Del Toro. “Collectively, our organizations are at the heart of what it will take to restore our nation’s competitive shipbuilding and repair landscape—including private and public investments in world-class manufacturing and shipbuilding facilities—and the highly-skilled workforce necessary to keep them running.”

“We must establish programs that build capacity in fields like naval architecture, engineering, and lifecycle management, as well as technical expertise in nuclear welding, robotics, software management, and additive manufacturing,” Secretary Del Toro told the GSC members. “As we’re developing these skillsets throughout our shipbuilding workforce, we must continue to leverage our nation’s advantage in technology and innovation in the maritime domain.”

Secretary Del Toro added that agility in ship production and design requires developing new, digital tools to improve efficiency and capacity. He also encouraged GSC members to convene at shipyards, other institutions, or academies where future maritime leaders are trained.

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