Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, November 30, 2013

NAVY MISTAKES BRING MORE $$$$$

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  • Today was the first Saturday vigil at Bath Iron Works during the Advent season.  The vigils will continue each Saturday for the next three weeks.  These protests are organized by the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm from Hope, Maine.  The seasonal vigils been held at BIW for many years.
The Navy has continued to accept delivery of ships containing hundreds and in some cases thousands of deficiencies despite recent efforts to improve quality control, and is not adequately pressuring contractors to minimize the number of flaws.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO-14-122) said the Navy should adapt more commercial practices that require the ship builder to assume greater risk for deficiencies and shoulder the cost of correcting them.  The GAO said the commercial side does a better job of detecting flaws and ensuring they are corrected while the ship is being built rather than at the time of or after delivery.

The report highlighted commercial standards to apply firm fixed priced contracts to their builders, believing that "the risks to the quality belong with the shipbuilders."  That's in contrast to the Navy's practice of cost-reimbursement and fixed priced incentive contracts that leave less risk on the shipbuilder, the GAO said.  The GAO said the Navy should at least tie incentives to quality control.
  • So the bottom line is that the Navy shipbuilders (Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics, which owns BIW, are the main contractors for Navy ships) are making lots of costly errors and then get paid additional taxpayer $$$ to fix the mistakes.  In the commercial shipbuilding world it's the opposite.  Shipbuilding companies are expected to fix their mistakes at their own expense which incentivizes them to get it right the first time.  This is just one more example of what happens when you make military production a profit making enterprise.

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