A report from the United States Government Accountability Office finds that since the shift to the multiple contract-to-order (MAC-MO) contracting approach for vessel maintenance work in 2015, the Navy has increased the opportunities competition, increased flexibility to ensure quality of work, and limited cost growth, but schedule delays persist.
During this period, 21 of the 41 vessel maintenance periods, called availabilities, for major repair work cost less than initially expected, and the average cost growth over the 41 availabilities was 5%. The schedule results were less positive and, according to the GAO, the performance of the Navy’s regional maintenance centers varied.
To mitigate the delays, the Navy identified and took action to implement lessons learned, including negotiating and funding undefined but expected increases in work at the time of contract award. However, according to the GAO, these actions have not resolved the delays resulting from the approval process that the Navy must often use to obtain funds to complete this maintenance work.
The GAO found this approval process to take between 26 and 189 days based on Department of Defense data. In December 2019, Congress established a pilot program that would potentially allow the Navy to bypass this process. The main practices identified by GAO for pilot programs require the development of an analysis plan to monitor implementation and performance and to assess end results. As the Navy begins to implement its pilot program, developing an analysis plan would provide it with a means of identifying opportunities to assess the results of the pilot program’s availability schedule, against the availability of the non-pilot program, and to document a process for evaluating lessons learned. of the pilot program.
Ship repair contractors now operating in the MAC-MO environment told GAO that two key considerations guide their decisions about investments in labor and facilities: visibility into the expected workloads at a given port. and their assessment of what part of that job they are most likely to win. In recognition of these considerations, Navy officials began to take steps to increase the predictability of workloads at each port. These officials predict that these measures, together with the increased workload in ports, will help increase contractors’ confidence in their ability to plan their share of future work.
GAO recommends that the Navy establish an analysis plan for the evaluation of the pilot program. The Navy agreed with GAO’s recommendation.
Read the full report here