Representatives from NNS, General Dynamics Electric Boat and NAVSEA participated in the two-week program.

Submarine Shipbuilders, NAVSEA Gather at NNS

Published June 29, 2021

Two dozen representatives from Newport News Shipbuilding, General Dynamics Electric Boat and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spent two weeks in June at NNS learning more about the U.S. Navy’s submarine programs.

The participants make up the inaugural cohort of the Team Submarine Program Management University. The program was developed to enrich submarine design, construction and community knowledge; improve tactical and strategic leadership skills and business acumen; and prepare prospective managers to fill emerging submarine program leadership positions.

Another advantage of the program is fostering relationships between partners in the submarine programs from NNS, Electric Boat and NAVSEA. There were eight participants from each entity.

“The purpose is to broaden everybody’s knowledge in a collaborative environment,” said Mike Reilley, NNS’ chief engineer. “As shipbuilders, we work closely with Electric Boat on the construction. We work closely with the NAVSEA on the construction, test and delivery. Building a relationship between those folks is just so important to make sure the program runs more efficiently.”

The idea for Team Submarine Program Management University came from retired Vice Adm. Paul Sullivan – a former NAVSEA commander who now works as an adviser in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. It comes during a time of generational change in submarine design, build and program management and as the build rate increases to support Columbia– and Virginia-class submarine construction.

During the course of the program, participants toured NNS’ submarine construction facilities and heard from NNS, Electric Boat and NAVSEA leaders.

Heather Ray, program manager for the Columbia-Class Submarine Program, was among the NNS shipbuilders to participate in Team Submarine Program Management University. There were a number of takeaways from the experience, she said.

“Building relationships throughout the submarine community, gaining knowledge on the importance of the fleet, a simplistic overview of the systems, the build strategy of Virginia class versus Columbia class, and most importantly grasping overall viewpoints from each different organization,” Ray said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to broaden my overall knowledge of the submarine world of shipbuilding.”

Reilley said the goal is to host two Team Submarine Program Management University cohorts per year.