Reinvestment Project (TRP), and Simulation-Based Design (SBD) program; the NSRP program; the Navy Manufacturing Technology Program (MANTECH) and its spinoff, the Navy Best Manufacturing Practices (BMP) program; the Naval Sea Systems Command's (NAVSEA) Sealift Ship Technology Development Program and Affordability Through Commonality program; the ONR Surface Ship Technology Program; standards activities, including those of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the ISO; and the MARAD National Maritime Resource and Education Center. Information about these programs was provided through written documentation, briefings from program managers and others, and the experience of committee members. Of these programs, only MARITECH is specifically intended to assist U.S. shipbuilders in becoming internationally competitive. However, the committee assessed all related programs to determine the extent to which they contribute toward that objective. The principal objective of the committee's assessment of the programs was to look at their overall objectives and their intended results. A detailed program review of the actual performance of the programs toward achieving stated goals was not made. The question asked was "If the programs met their goals, would they make a difference?" (Appendix D further details these programs.)
As chapters 1 and 2 showed, the challenge to shipbuilders will be substantial for the next decade. For the next five to ten years, U.S. shipbuilders will almost certainly lag behind foreign world-class competitors on the combined basis of overall cost, material availability, and delivery schedule because of the great differences between the methods and circumstances of foreign and U.S. shipbuilders.
Chapter 2 concluded that for U.S. shipbuilders to become commercially viable on a cost basis their business processes must be changed, including marketing, bidding and estimating, sourcing, and management systems. Labor forces will also need to be reduced under any likely forecast. Additional investments will be needed in system technologies, production processes, and product design. In some cases, significant capital investments will be needed to improve efficiency. Table 2-2 summarized these findings for each of the four technology categories important to the commercial competitiveness of U.S. industry.
The following sections assess shipbuilding assistance programs. Each program is considered for implications in the four technology areas shown in Table 2-2. Care has been taken in the evaluation to consider program goals and accomplishments in view of the mission and structure of each program. Some of the programs covered below are strongly oriented to defense applications, some seek secondarily to achieve commercial benefits (e.g., via a dual-use orientation), and some are targeted specifically at commercial advances. These differences are appropriately taken into account.