Why was your directorate created?
KEARNEY: In April 2014, SEA 06 was established as part
of the NAVSEA Strategic Plan to take a better look at how
we can reduce variance across the fleet. We call it “the
commonality directorate,” but, along with that, we also
tied together “orphan” programs that would be better
shepherded by having a single flag officer in charge of
them. On top of that, there was a variety of positions I
maintained as the vice commander at NAVSEA that,
when the Navy reduced their flag officer numbers and
the vice commander job was rolled away, they came with
me into the SEA 06 organization. It was also very synergistic in that all those pieces really fit well together.
How would describe your mission?
KEARNEY: In one sentence, it’s really to influence total
ownership cost reductions across the Navy, from small
arms to carriers.
How does the NSRP reflect your mission?
KEARNEY: NSRP flowed out of another shipbuilding
cost-savings effort, but more formally became known as
the NSRP in 1998. It is an industry-led, Navy-sponsored
collaboration of 11 shipyards with the U.S. government
to make our shipbuilding better, faster, cheaper and more
efficient. Ultimately, it’s about collaboration between the
shipyards, from their industrial worker base all the way
to the vice president level, as well as with the government, from our ship designers all the way through our
PEOs [program executive officers].
It is a unique organization that is constructed under
a joint funding agreement where the government and
industry share the costs of research and development
projects on how to make shipbuilding better. Its goal is
to reduce the costs of U.S. Navy ships, and enable the
shipyards to be better shipyards, which will enable
them to better compete on an international scale.
From Small Arms
to Carriers …
Navy’s acquisition/commonality director addresses total ownership costs
RDML Thomas J. Kearney, deputy commander of Naval Sea
Systems Command (NAVSEA) and director of the Acquisition/
Commonality/Expeditionary Warfare Directorate (SEA 06), is a former
submariner. His extensive operational experience includes service on
three submarines, followed by command of the precommissioning unit
for the first Virginia-class submarine and command of the attack submarine USS Alexandria. Kearney also served as engineer for a submarine squadron and as executive officer of a moored training ship.
Entering the Acquisition Professional community in 2006, he has held positions as Foreign Military Sales program manager in the Undersea Weapons
Program Office, deputy program manager in the Submarine Acoustic Systems Program Office, and program manager for Undersea Weapons and
Targets. He served as vice commander of NAVSEA from June 2013 to April
2014, when he established SEA 06 as a new directorate within NAVSEA.
Kearney discussed one of his major programs — the National Shipbuilding
Research Program (NSRP) — and other programs with Managing Editor
Richard. R. Burgess. Excerpts follow: L I S
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 42 SEAPOWER / DECEMBER 2015