The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) formally established the Surface Ship Life Cycle Management (SSLCM) Activity on May 8, 2009, in a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Va. The new activity, a NAVSEA program office, will be aligned under the Deputy Commander for Surface Warfare (SEA 21).
The SSLCM Activity will maintain, monitor and refine Class Maintenance Plans for all non-nuclear surface ships to ensure material readiness for the projected service life, develop life-cycle strategies to address system upgrades, and fully implement the Integrated Class Maintenance Plan into each surface ship's maintenance schedule and availability planning process. The new activity is modeled after and will function similarly to the Submarine Maintenance Engineering Planning and Procurement Activity and the Carrier Planning Activity, which provides engineering and maintenance planning services for the U.S. Navy submarine and carrier fleets.
"The acquisition of new ships is only part of what it will take to reach the Navy's goal of 313 ships," said Rear Adm. James McManamon, deputy commander for surface warfare (SEA 21). "To meet this goal, we need to continue to maintain and efficiently manage our existing ships. The SSLCM Activity will put in place the processes necessary to accomplish that."
Since Planning, Estimating, Repair and Alterations (PERA) Surface in Philadelphia was deactivated in 1993 as part of the BRAC process, surface fleet class maintenance and availability planning has been executed by Regional Maintenance Centers and the type commander. The SSLCM activity will provide centralized life-cycle support and management for U.S. Navy surface ships to assess and manage the maintenance requirements throughout the life-cycle of ships in the surface fleet, in order to better plan and budget for long-term maintenance needs.
By analyzing and weighing the costs and risks of maintenance tasks, the activity will improve the accuracy of future Baseline Availability Work Package development and will validate existing maintenance strategies. This effort will provide long-term value for surface ship lifecycle sustainment efforts and ensure an effective means to achieve full service life. SSLCM Activity will regularly work with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Surface Warfare Enterprise, Board of Inspection and Survey and other NAVSEA and Navy offices to carry out their mission.
"SSLCM Activity will execute the complex task of maximizing the material readiness of our current Fleet by ensuring each and every ship in our inventory is ready to respond to their missions today, tomorrow, and well into the 21st century," said Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of NAVSEA. "And as we continue to build our future Fleet, particularly as our Littoral Combat Ships come online, every newly commissioned ship will be meticulously tracked right out of the gate to ensure our warfighters, our taxpayers and our nation get the most out of these national assets."
The activity will be headquartered at NNSY in Portsmouth. Initially staffed with about 40 people, the activity is expected to grow in the near future.
SEA 21 manages the complete life-cycle support for all non-nuclear surface ships and is the principal interface with the Surface Warfare Enterprise. The directorate is responsible for the maintenance and modernization of non-nuclear surface ships currently operating in the Fleet. Through planned modernization and upgrade programs, SEA 21 will equip today's surface ships with the latest technologies and systems to keep them in the Fleet though their service lives. Additionally, SEA 21 oversees the ship inactivation process, including transfers or sales to friendly foreign navies, inactivation and or disposal.