US Navy secretary points to foreign shipyards’ practices to fix delays (2024)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Navy has released a road map partly aimed at improving ship construction and repair yards, as the service grapples with how to get its major shipbuilding programs back on schedule.

A week after releasing a shipbuilding review that acknowledged several top ship programs are one to three years behind schedule, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said the service is already taking actions to recover from these delays.

Each program executive office has plans to address shortfalls within its portfolio, he told Defense News at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference, and in some cases this involves greater oversight over shipyards and subcontractors.

He said a number of delays are related to major components being delivered to prime shipyards late. The Navy is working “to get to the root cause of what’s causing these delays and how we can strengthen the industrial base to prevent them in the future,” he added.

The secretary identified multiyear procurement contracts and advanced procurement funding as ways to get materials and components to shipyards early, noting the Navy will continue to advocate for these spending and contracting tools.

But moreover, he said during his lunchtime speech, “right now we build the most capable warships in the world in shipyards that are sometimes decades behind the global technological standard. This is an inefficient approach requiring far too much time, workforce and taxpayers’ dollars.”

Noting that South Korean and Japanese shipyards build “high-quality ships, including Aegis destroyers, for a fraction of the cost that we do,” he said he is interested in understanding how the U.S. Navy can leverage the digital tools these nations’ shipyards use.

“When my team and I went to South Korea, we were floored at the level of digitization and real-time monitoring of shipbuilding progress, with readily available information down to individual pieces of stock materials. Their top executives could tell us — to the day — when ships would actually be delivered,” he said in his remarks. “I am pushing our shipbuilding industry to invest in itself to get better, to be technological leaders, and to once again deliver platforms on time and on budget.”

Del Toro told reporters after his speech that the Navy’s science and research road map, released April 9, would consider “what science and technology innovations can we bring to the table that perhaps aren’t being used here in the United States, that are being used elsewhere with our partners, for example, to help digitize our public shipyards.

A publicly released summary of the road map does not elaborate on this particular topic.

During a separate panel discussion, the program executive officer for ships, Rear Adm. Tom Anderson, said his organization had previously drawn commercial best practices from elsewhere in the U.S. but hadn’t looked outwards at foreign shipyards.

As part of Del Toro’s ongoing push to improve shipbuilding performance as well as bolster the commercial shipbuilding and ship repair industries, Anderson said Program Executive Office Ships has begun strengthening relationships with Japanese and Korean yards.

Anderson said he was particularly impressed with the volume and throughput of the Korean yards he visited, as well as their focus on creating an environment around the shipyard to support workers and their families.

That comment is in contrast to what Del Toro and other sea service leaders said this week — that it is challenging to recruit and retain workers at U.S.-based yards.

About MeganEckstein

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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US Navy secretary points to foreign shipyards’ practices to fix delays (2024)


US Navy secretary points to foreign shipyards’ practices to fix delays? ›

US Navy

US Navy
An officer of the deck (OOD) underway is a watchstanding duty officer on a surface ship in the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps who is tasked with certain duties and responsibilities for the ship. › wiki › Officer_of_the_deck
secretary points to foreign shipyards' practices to fix delays. The U.S. Navy has released a road map partly aimed at improving ship construction and repair yards, as the service grapples with how to get its major shipbuilding programs back on schedule.

What are the 4 Navy shipyards? ›

The Navy's four public shipyards -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY), Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS&IMF), and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY&IMF) -- perform a vital role in national defense by executing ...

What is the largest shipyard in the United States? ›

The Huntington Ingall Ingalls/Newport News Shipyard is the largest shipbuilding company in the United States. It serves as the sole provider of U.S Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of U.S Navy submarines.

How many naval shipyards does the US have? ›

Currently, there are four public shipyards in the United States with 17 dry docks. These yards are owned by the U.S. government and support maintenance, depot-level maintenance, emergency repairs, and modernization.

Where are most US Navy ships built? ›

U.S. HII comprises three divisions: Newport News Shipbuilding, Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Mission Technologies. HII's Newport News and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi, respectively, have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder.

Where is the worlds largest U.S. Navy shipyard? ›

Naval Station Norfolk is situated in the Sewells Point area of the City of Norfolk, near the site of the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac (CSS Virginia), and is the largest naval complex in the world.

What is the oldest Navy shipyard in the United States? ›

The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia is the oldest naval shipyard in the United States. It was established November 1, 1767 under the British flag, thirty-one years before the creation of the United States Navy Department.

What is the largest naval ship in the world? ›

Originally scheduled for delivery in 2015, Gerald R. Ford was delivered to the Navy on 31 May 2017 and formally commissioned by President Donald Trump on 22 July 2017. Her first deployment departed 4 October 2022. As of 2024, she is the world's largest aircraft carrier, and the largest warship ever constructed.

Which country has the most shipyard in the world? ›

China is the world's largest shipbuilding nation, accounting for more than 40% of the global shipbuilding market. Chinese shipyards specialize in building bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships, as well as offshore support vessels and floating production storage and offloading(FPSO) units.

Who builds most U.S. Navy ships? ›


For 85 years, Ingalls has designed, built and maintained amphibious ships, destroyers, and cutters for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The largest supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, Ingalls is simultaneously building four classes of ships.

What is the largest US naval carrier? ›

USS Gerald R. Ford: US Navy's largest aircraft carrier returning after extended Mediterranean deployment | CNN Politics.

Where are most U.S. submarines built? ›

U.S. Navy submarines are built by General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division (GD/EB) of Groton, CT, and Quonset Point, RI, and Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding (HII/NNS), of Newport News, VA. These are the only two shipyards in the country capable of building nuclear-powered ships.

What is the Navy's 2024 shipbuilding plan? ›

The 2024 plan reflects the Navy's desire to build a larger and more distributed fleet. To achieve that goal, the Navy would buy 290 to 340 ships over the 2024–2053 period: 237 to 267 combat ships and 53 to 73 combat logistics and support ships (see Table 3).

What city is the birthplace of the U.S. Navy? ›

Who builds submarines for the U.S. Navy? ›

U.S. General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) is a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation. It has been the primary builder of submarines for the United States Navy for more than 100 years.

What is the 4th fleet of the Navy? ›

FOURTH Fleet is responsible for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the USSOUTHCOM area of operations (AOR), which encompasses the Caribbean, Central and South America and surrounding waters.

What Navy ship is number 4? ›

USS Boxer (LHD-4) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy.

Which shipyard builds the biggest ships? ›

Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard

HHI builds some of the world's biggest ships including oil tankers, cargo ships, submarines, warships and what are described as 'special-purpose vessels' for the Republic of Korea Navy.


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