Reform

Navy Shipyard Upgrades Get Underway

Dec. 12, 2018 | BY C. Todd Lopez

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer assured lawmakers that as part of the service's efforts to modernize the force, it was moving forward on plans to upgrade and improve the Navy's public shipyards, during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee. 


The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Puget Sound
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., is one of four Navy government-owned, government-operated public shipyards. All four are slated to be upgraded over the next 20 years.
Photo By: Gary T. Sutto, Navy
VIRIN: 140714-N-EM414-001

What you need to know:

1
The Navy's four public shipyards:

  1. Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Norfolk, Virginia;
  2. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at Kittery, Maine;
  3. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Bremerton, Washington;
  4. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

2
Ownership, Readiness
The shipyards are all government-owned, government-operated facilities, part of the Navy's organic industrial base, and are all considered critical to national security and readiness. The shipyards do depot-level maintenance on the Navy's fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines to ensure those ships and boats remain ready to fight.
Family members ride aboard the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Maine as it transits the Hood Canal during a Dependents Cruise in Puget Sound, Wash., Sept. 13, 2016. The submarine is moving from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility to commence an engineered refueling overhaul. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Amanda R. Gray
Transiting the Hood Canal
Family members ride aboard the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Maine as it transits the Hood Canal during a Dependents Cruise in Puget Sound, Wash., Sept. 13, 2016. The submarine is moving from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility to commence an engineered refueling overhaul.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Amanda R. Gray
VIRIN: 160913-N-UD469-030A
3
The Navy's first-ever ''Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan''
This was delivered to Congress earlier this year, and spells out how the four shipyards will be upgraded and improved to better serve the fleet. That plan focuses on shipyard drydock recapitalization, facility layout and optimization and equipment modernization.
4
Cost, Timeline
Overall, the Navy's plan to bring into the modern age its four shipyards will cost some $21 billion and take approximately 20 years to complete. That effort is underway now. ''The fact of the matter is, until we get our shipyards — specifically for our underwater fleet, our public shipyards, primarily — increased flow and increased efficiencies for throughput, we are hurting ourselves,'' Spencer told the committee.
The USS Bataan rests in port at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, Sept. 11, 2016. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan
In Port
The USS Bataan rests in port at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, Sept. 11, 2016.
Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. Matthew Callahan
VIRIN: 160911-M-IN448-078
5
Other Improvements
While physical infrastructure improvements at Navy shipyards are underway, improvements in other areas, such as the training of workers, has already shown great success, the secretary said. Spencer told lawmakers that in years past, training a shipyard employee might have taken as many as four years. But now, he said, that training time has been reduced to as little as a year for skills like marine machinists and pipefitters.