GROTON, Conn. –
Contract Management Team personnel from DCMA Hartford descended upon the shipyards here to gain a fuller understanding of their role in supporting the conversion and repair of America’s submarine fleet.
The visit provided the CMT with insight into how their daily work efforts impact the joint warfighter and the successful maintenance of the Virginia-class attack submarines.
The trip provided a great opportunity for DCMA teammates, who support the subsurface fleet, to engage with their end-user counterparts to discuss challenges and opportunities with the Virginia-class New Construction Program Office, said Army Maj. Reed Timme.
Timme, deputy director for Engineering and Manufacturing at DCMA Hartford, who maintains functional oversight over one of the manufacturing teams, coordinated the visit.
“I also have oversight on our CMO’s efforts to improve on-time delivery as it’s one of DCMA’s highest priorities,” Timme said.
Electric Boat is the prime contractor for the work on the Virginia-class submarine in Groton, which the Navy oversees.
“While we do not have cognizance over Electric Boat in this instance, many of our critical suppliers support Electric Boat as sub-tier vendors and also directly support the Navy’s in-service fleet maintenance and readiness,” Timme said. “Therefore, our engaged surveillance at our suppliers is a critical piece to keeping the Navy’s subsurface fleet of today and tomorrow ready to answer the nation’s call. “
For a number of DCMA employees, it was the first time seeing the systems and facilities they were supporting.
James Vizvary, an industrial specialist with DCMA Hartford, described the visit as a unique experience.
“As a civilian who was not in the military, it was impressive to climb into a submarine and see the mess hall, kitchen, and sailor quarters,” Vizvary said.
Vizvary performs manufacturing and production surveillance of sub-tier vendors and ensures the parts they fabricate are delivered on-time, within budget, and produced in accordance to the contract.
“We don’t get to see the end results of the parts our contractors produce and how important contractor on-time delivery is to the warfighter and the submarine manufacturer,” Vizvary said. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Wendy Whalen, an administrative contract officer who participated in the site visit, said she wasn't sure what to expect.
“The size of the buildings where the contractor puts the submarines together was unimaginable,” said Whalen, whose trip expectations were greatly exceeded. “It was absolutely incredible to see it in real life and up close.”
Whalen said seeing the vessel construction helped forge a closer connection to the work she does and how it supports America’s national defense strategy.
“Knowing now what it takes to construct a submarine, I have such a better appreciation for the men and women who rely on DCMA to deliver the products needed for our warfighters,” Whalen said.
The size, scale, and complexity associated with the design, engineering, and manufacturing of a nuclear submarine is so immense that it demands the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders to ensure DCMA and the Navy meet cost, schedule, and performance requirements, Timme said.
“The Virginia- and the Columbia-class submarine programs put that into stark relief,” Timme said. “I think that most of the American public doesn’t realize what an enormous team effort it takes from both the government and industry.”
Timme added that DCMA is a critical piece of that effort.
“Without the factory floor insights, the American taxpayer wouldn’t receive fair value, the warfighter wouldn’t receive the right capability at the right time, and we wouldn’t have a robust and innovative defense industrial base that is postured to meet the demands of an ever-evolving national defense posture,” Timme said.