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Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Submarine Design Capabilities

Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Submarine Design Capabilities

John F. Schank
Mark V. Arena
Paul DeLuca
Jessie Riposo
Kimberly Curry
Todd Weeks
James Chiesa
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 234
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  • Book Info
    Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Submarine Design Capabilities
    Book Description:

    Nuclear submarine design resources at the shipyards, their suppliers, and the Navy may erode for lack of demand. Analysis of alternative workforce and workload management options suggests that the U.S. Navy should stretch out the design of the next submarine class and start it early or sustain design resources above the current demand, so that the next class may be designed on time, on budget, and with low risk.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4276-7
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Technology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Since the commissioning of the USSNautilusin 1954, the U.S. Navy has aimed to maintain technical superiority over all other countries’ submarine forces. The U.S. submarine fleet currently numbers over 50 fast attack submarines (SSNs) and 18 submarines built to launch ballistic missiles (SSBNs), four of which (SSGNs) are or have been converted to launch cruise missiles. All are nuclear powered to maximize the duration and speed of underwater operations.¹ While the submarine fleet has been decreasing in number since the end of the Cold War, it is anticipated that the U.S. Navy will sustain a force of several...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Submarine Design Process
    (pp. 7-24)

    The design and engineering¹ of any complex system requires special skills, tools, and experience. Of all naval combatants, a nuclear-powered submarine presents the greatest design challenge. The unique operating environment and characteristics of a nuclear submarine impose special demands on designers and engineers. These individuals need special skills to address the ability to operate in three dimensions, the requirement to submerge and surface, the fine degree of system integration necessary due to weight and volume limitations, and the use of nuclear propulsion. Many of these skills are not found or maintained in the design of other U.S. naval ships.


  11. CHAPTER THREE Framing the Analysis
    (pp. 25-50)

    Faced with a potentially long gap until the next new submarine class is needed in the fleet, the nuclear submarine design community must understand the implications of different workforce management strategies. As indicated in Chapter Two, the nuclear submarine design process is exceedingly complex and requires a range of designers and engineers that possess not only the requisite technical knowledge but also practical experience in submarine design. In this chapter, we describe how we model the future demand for nuclear submarine design resources and the potential impact of different workforce management strategies that provide the engineering and design resources needed...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Effect of Different Options for Managing Design Resources
    (pp. 51-82)

    This chapter presents the results of analyzing different policies for sustaining submarine design resources using the model described in the previous chapter. We begin with our base-case assumptions and estimate the cost and schedule impacts of sustaining different levels of design resources at EB and at NGNN, assuming the total effort is performed by one of the two organizations.

    Because of the uncertainty surrounding our various assumptions, we examine the sensitivity of the cost and schedule impacts for different

    design start dates

    design workload requirements

    design durations

    distributions of the design work between EB and NGNN

    workforce hiring, training, and...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Critical Skills
    (pp. 83-98)

    Chapter Four identifies the number of designers and engineers to sustain in order to minimize the cost and schedule of a new design effort. Our analysis is focused at the aggregate level, grouping all designer skills together and all engineering skills together. In this chapter, we disaggregate the designer and engineer groups into the specific skill categories described in Chapter Two.

    Ultimately, both EB and NGNN must decide exactly which designers and engineers to sustain within each skill category. These specific decisions should be based on the technical skills and competencies and the experience of the various individuals that make...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Suppliers
    (pp. 99-118)

    The process of designing a submarine is a complex engineering and systems-integration task. There are a multitude of technologies that must work together in order to make the submarine a functional and safe weapon system. These technologies include systems with a direct warfighting role (e.g., communications, sonar and sensors, weapon handling systems), systems providing the mobility and power (e.g., power plant, generators, gears, hydraulic systems), and systems used to sustain the crew (e.g., galley equipment, water, air purification, berthing), all operating together in a challenging environment.

    Neither EB nor NGNN possesses the capability and the technical expertise to design and...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN The Navy’s Roles and Responsibilities in Submarine Design
    (pp. 119-132)

    The Navy ultimately retains the responsibility of ensuring that a submarine design is safe, effective, and affordable. This responsibility is independent of the entity that actually designs the submarine, whether the design is an internal Navy effort or, as is the practice today, an effort by a private corporation under contract to the Navy. This responsibility has not changed, despite significant changes in the division of labor between the Navy and private industry and in design tools and practices.

    In carrying out its responsibility, the Navy fulfills three roles: providing technical infrastructure and expertise, developing and designing components, and supporting...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Effect of a Design Gap on the Navy’s Technical Community
    (pp. 133-142)

    The U.S. Navy has an extensive technical infrastructure designed to assist in the acquisition and in-service support of nuclear submarines. This chapter examines the effect a prolonged design and engineering gap will have on that technical infrastructure. The design gap has implications for manning within the Navy’s engineering community and for funding levels required to provide technical work that is challenging enough to maintain skill levels. The effects vary across the organizational structure, and we use that structure to frame our analysis drawing on the discussions of NAVSEA and the naval warfare centers in Chapter Seven.

    We have already discussed...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 143-146)

    The motivating concern for this research is the potential for the loss of U.S. submarine design capability, given the gap in design demand inherent in the Navy’s current shipbuilding plans. We investigated the two aspects of this loss in capability—the loss of workforce capacity and the loss of critical skills—in assessing the potential for capability erosion at the shipyards, at the suppliers, and in the Navy itself.

    We evaluated two shipyard workforce management strategies: (1) sustaining some number of workers in excess of those needed to meet the residual design demand during the gap and (2) letting the...

  18. APPENDIX A Workforce Simulation Model
    (pp. 147-160)
  19. APPENDIX B Survey Instrument for Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News
    (pp. 161-174)
  20. APPENDIX C Survey Instrument Provided to Vendors
    (pp. 175-178)
  21. APPENDIX D U.S. Navy’s Technical Warrant Holders
    (pp. 179-190)
  22. APPENDIX E Net Present Value Analysis
    (pp. 191-198)
  23. Bibliography
    (pp. 199-202)