Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Learning from Experience

Learning from Experience: Volume II: Lessons from the U.S. Navy's Ohio, Seawolf, and Virginia Submarine Programs

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 154
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Learning from Experience
    Book Description:

    The U.S. Navy asked the RAND Corporation to develop a set of lessons learned from previous submarine programs that could help inform future program managers. This volume presents lessons from three U.S. submarine programs. The RAND team looked at how the programs were managed, the issues that affected management decisions, and the outcomes of those decisions. An overarching lesson from the three programs is the importance of program stability.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7756-1
    Subjects: History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)

    To design and construct nuclear-powered submarines, modern navies and shipbuilders need personnel and organizations that possess unique and specialized skills and expertise. These vessels are among the most complex systems that countries produce, and the technical personnel, designers, construction tradesmen, and program managers who work on them represent pools of knowledge that take years to collect and that cannot be replicated easily or quickly.

    In years past, the pace of construction on replacement submarines was quick enough in most countries that key technical and management personnel in submarine programs were able both to work on a stream of successive submarines...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Lessons from past experiences are an important tool for preparing managers to conduct future programs successfully. This is especially true for the management of complex military programs governed by various rules, regulations, procedures, and relationships not typically found in commercial projects. In the past, frequent new programs afforded junior-level managers the opportunity to gain experience, develop insights, and prepare for more senior management roles in future programs. However, the longer operational lives of current naval platforms and the pressures of constrained defense budgets have resulted in longer gaps between new programs, and new program managers often do not have the...

  10. CHAPTER TWO U.S. Nuclear Submarines Up to Ohio
    (pp. 5-10)

    Historical context is important when we discuss the lessons learned from the United States’ Ohio, Seawolf, and Virginia nuclear submarine programs. All three came during or just after the peak in U.S. nuclear submarine design and construction. However, the period before the start of the Ohio program provides a good insight into the basic tenets of program management developed earlier by the nuclear submarine community.

    Figure 2.1 shows the various classes of nuclear submarines developed between 1955 and 1980. The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of submarines in each class. The figure shows the first ten in a class...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Ohio Case Study
    (pp. 11-42)

    As the Los Angeles program was reaching full production, the vessels in the original SSBN fleet were nearing the end of their operational lives. The Soviet Union posed an increasing threat, and strategic nuclear deterrence was accorded high priority. The nuclear propulsion industrial base, due to submarine production and new aircraft carrier construction, was healthy although centered on only two shipyards—EB and Newport News. This environment gave rise to the Ohio program, the first case study we examine for lessons learned.

    The decade of the 1950s saw the steady buildup of Soviet strategic forces and the launch of the...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Seawolf Case Study
    (pp. 43-60)

    The decade of the 1970s saw the beginnings of a long and large Los Angeles–class construction program and the start of the design and construction of the Ohio-class program. Both EB and Newport News had full order books and large construction workforces. But advances in Soviet submarine technology led to increased concern over the Soviet Union’s capability and thus to the beginning of a new class of attack submarines. This new class, the Seawolf, is the focus of this chapter.

    The Seawolf attack submarine program was initiated to develop a follow-on platform to the Los Angeles class and was...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Virginia Case Study
    (pp. 61-92)

    The demise of the Seawolf program resulted from a high-cost submarine designed for a threat that no longer existed. The Navy faced a significant gap until a new SSBN design could be developed. It realized the need to start a new attack submarine design effort both to maintain the desired force structure and to sustain the design resources in the industrial base. At the same time, EB was facing a declining workload with few future prospects for new design or construction work. This environment fostered the advent of the next new nuclear submarine program—the Virginia class, which is the...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Lessons Identified
    (pp. 93-110)

    Much has changed in the Navy’s nuclear submarine environment in the 35 years from the start of the Ohio program to the current status of the Virginia program. The Ohio and Seawolf programs began in a period of heightened tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, each pushing technology and force structures in an attempt to gain an advantage over the other. The end of the Cold War brought a change in operational focus, from countering the Soviet threat in the oceans of the world to the world of terrorism and the need to operate in the littorals....

  15. APPENDIX Significant Events in the Three Programs
    (pp. 111-116)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 117-122)