Bringing Balance to the Fleet
When it comes to maintaining and equipping vessels, it’s important to have a concept of total ownership that directs your fleet management decisions. A concept of “wholeness” can help guide these decisions and, crucially, help to control the costs of ownership.
The US Navy has recently taken on this “wholeness” approach to allotting budget, and reviewing the operational costs of their fleet. The concept informs every aspect of fleet planning, from fleet size to upkeep and maintenance costs, among many other factors. This same concept of “wholeness” can be applied across the marine industry to help control total costs of ownership when it comes to equipping and outfitting your own vessels.
“Wholeness” became something of a buzzword after a January 2017 memo where Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that the 2017 supplemental budget would focus on “warfighting readiness,” while the 2018 budget request would “achieve program balance.” The plan also called for comprehensive “wholeness balance reviews” to be conducted, with the aim to move money around to cover any holes in training, maintenance, interoperability with other programs, etc. The ultimate goal of these extensive reviews is to hopefully discover how much money it actually takes to make a program whole and able to succeed in the future, while also increasing upkeep and maintenance on the current, overworked fleet.
This focus on wholeness has enabled the Navy to rise above the constraints and demands placed upon it, such as capacity versus capability, or an individual ship’s capabilities versus the networking of ships together. By viewing the entire navy’s united operational capabilities all together, and deliberately performing “wholeness balance reviews” to keep this view at the fore, the US Navy is helping to increase its operational readiness, even during a time of smaller fleets and tighter budgets.
This philosophy also works brilliantly outside the navy, spanning across the maritime industry, helping to control total ownership costs when it comes to managing vessels. Shipbuilding, equipping, and maintai