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OCTOBER 15, 2004  
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SHIPMAIN Process evaluates Needed Alts and Mods

By JOC Milinda D. Jensen, Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – SHIPMAIN, an innovative new process to perform ship maintenance, has changed the process for evaluating and deciding which alternations (alts) and modifications (mods) are vital to the Fleet. This process is proving to be a more efficient way of ranking priority work and eliminating the non-essential work.

In the fall of 2002, the Navy began reviewing somewhere between 25-40 thousand items in its database, the Navy Data Environment (NDE).
The review was needed to project a realistic idea of essential items necessary and affordable compared with the money provided in the POM 06 Modernization Plan.

“There used to be more than 40 types of alts, and this process consolidated those into two -- Program and Fleet alts,” explained Capt. Dean Pedersen, Action Officer for SHIPMAIN Cross Functional Team (CFT) 4.
SHIPMAIN is headed by a Process Improvement Team, consisting of a panel of flag officers and senior executive service personnel charged with the overall responsibility and authority to execute the process. The team is unique in bringing together flag leadership from the surface, aviation, engineering, maintenance, and acquisition communities.
Reporting to the PIT are four CFTs, each chaired by a flag officer and consisting of senior personnel involved in ship maintenance or modernization processes. Each CFT is responsible for identifying inefficiencies and redundancies in one of four parts of the planning process: 1) requirements -- defining and documenting maintenance needs; (2) package preparation -- the creation of complete and funded work packages that can be used to contract work; (3) placement and oversight -- whereby contracts are awarded and administered through completion and closing of 2-kilos; and (4) alterations and modifications -- based on needs and ideas that are collected and screened.
After having put the process into effect in Oct. 2003, the number of alts and mods began decreasing. The process included eliminating alts because of their low need in the fleet. Some alts were “killed” because they either were not properly reported or the fleet and Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) sponsors agreed the work was no longer needed.

Incorporating a three-pillar ‘decision making hierarchy,’ starting at the first level with an O-6 board, moving up to a one and two-star board and ultimately resting with a three-star board decision, the CFT 4 process allows more informed business decisions to be made.

Ranking priority for alts from an overall perspective didn’t exist before SHIPMAIN. Additionally, the new process requires alts to be fully funded up-front. The old process funded the idea stage (DP1), but not the preliminary engineering decision (DP2) or approval for procurement (detailed design). With the need to recapitalize money into the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), the SHIPMAIN alt process puts into place more efficient checkpoints, providing essential fleet needs while eliminating the churn.

The second level process review for POM 06 modernization begins Oct. 14. The final number of alts remaining is just over 4,700, and although it still remains a challenge, it is considered manageable.