US Navy shipyards in poor condition, GAO finds

A study published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that US Navy shipyards are in a poor condition despite efforts to change their state.

Although the Navy committed to increased capital investment and developed an improvement plan in 2013, the overall physical condition of shipyards’ facilities and equipment remain in poor condition.

Data analysed by GAO show that the cost of backlogged restoration and maintenance projects at the shipyards has grown by 41 percent over five years, to a Navy-estimated $4.86 billion, and will take at least 19 years (through fiscal year 2036) to clear. Similarly, a Navy analysis shows that the average age of shipyard capital equipment now exceeds its expected useful life.

Partly as a result of their poor condition, the shipyards have not been fully meeting the Navy’s operational needs. In fiscal years 2000 through 2016, inadequate facilities and equipment led to maintenance delays that contributed in part to more than 1,300 lost operational days for aircraft carriers and 12,500 lost operational days for submarines.

The Navy’s four public shipyards—Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility—are critical to maintaining fleet readiness and supporting ongoing operations involving the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.

In a video published online, GAO outlines the state of the Navy’s critical maintenance facilities.