strategy and set of contracts aligned with the risk of
Another key part of that is managing that baseline.
As you go through the planning and requirements process, how do we control the configuration? How do we
add where it’s appropriate because of the late-breaking
issues or operational requirements, but maintaining
that baseline so people can achieve success? It’s got to
be a disciplined, well-planned process with accountability throughout. And much of it, of course, we execute with the private shipyards.
How do you hold people accountable in this
DOWNEY: You’ve got to be fair in that process to hold
them accountable. The first thing, though, is is it executable? I’ve got to make sure that they’re enabled to achieve
success. And give them the tools to execute. That is key
in being fair in the accountability process.
We go through the planning status or the availability
execution status of each ship with the RMCs and with
industry on a very routine basis. We go through our
critical ships that are at certain points in their availabilities on a daily basis, whether they are in Norfolk,
San Diego or forward deployed. The critical work is
reviewed on a daily basis, [comparing] our plan versus
actual progress of the avail. We review complete fleet
status every week. On a monthly level, we go through
the whole fleet status and complete financial status
with the fleet that funds the maintenance availability and back to OPNAV [Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations] that funds the modernization.
A big piece of this is transparency on the effort. Do we
have the data on how we are performing? We hold folks
accountable on how they actually are executing. What are
those commanders doing to adjust to meet that schedule?
Much of that is done via direct communications with
myself and my flag officer counterparts in the fleet.
For some time now, we have instituted a very senior
review process for when we are attempting to add
something to a work package during the process. Much
of what we do in surface execution falls under Surface
Team One, co-led by [Vice Adm. Thomas S.] Rowden
[commander, Surface Forces] and my boss, Vice Adm.
Moore. They see the status of all jobs, whether in
planning or execution, every month. We make the
adjustments, whether it’s an availability adjustment, a
schedule modification or a contract modification via
those discussions on a monthly basis.
What metric do you use to measure performance?
DOWNEY: We go through the planning milestones and
execution milestones for every hull on a weekly basis:
the planned date to achieve, the actual date achieved,
the forecast on the upcoming dates. We go through the
financial execution in the same manner: the plan to
execute the budget; have we gotten all the money; the
current execution of that money; the forecast of any
surplus or deficits. Then we go into the technical work,
the jobs that affect the completion or the next milestone of the ship as well as the return to the fleet. Are
there any technical, material or labor resource issues
with those jobs? Why are you claiming X percent complete versus Y percent planned?
If you’re not executing to your plan in the sequence
of work, but you’re gaining progress by working in
other areas, that is not necessarily a good indicator of
success. We specifically go through the critical path
of the work and make sure that the plan and achieved
progress is against the actual sequence of the work
plan. It is a detailed process with lots of metrics per
labor, per material and per overall progress.