PORTSMOUTH, UK--- Senior leaders, contracting experts and ship repair engineers representing several of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR/NAVAF)/U.S. 6th Fleet’s logistics support agencies hosted an Industry Day event here, Jun. 11-13.
The hosting agencies were Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Sigonella, Military Sealift Command (MSC) and Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC).
"In recent years, the U.S. 6th Fleet has been increasing the tempo of operations throughout Northern Europe," said Bong Cabling, NAVSUP FLCI Sigonella's Executive Director. "As representatives of the 6th Fleet's logistics support agencies, our command's Contracting Team organized this Industry Day as part of an effort to grow our ship repair industry base throughout the region so we can continue to ensure our Fleet's ships and supporting vessels are maintained and ready to operate at all times."
Attendees of the event's first of three days were senior representatives from NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and SeaEurope, the ship repair leading agency in Europe. Other attendees included logistics leaders from the navies of the United Kingdom, Spain and France.
Briefers from the U.S. and NATO navies provided each other with an overview of their ship repair capabilities and processes. The U.S. 6th Fleet's four hosting agencies briefed their NATO counterparts about the specific repair capabilities their agencies are seeking to establish in Northern Europe.
One of the briefers was Capt. Gustavo Vergara, FDRMC Commanding Officer.
“From the dialogue we had with our partners from NSPA, SeaEurope and the navies of several other NATO members, we gained valuable insight particularly in how they do business with the region's commercial ship repair contractors,” Vergara said.
During the event’s second day, contracting experts and ship engineers from NAVSUP FLC Sigonella, FDRMC and MSC briefed representatives of European commercial ship repair companies about the contracting regulations and solicitations processes that are specific to each of their commands.
"Understanding how to work with the U.S. government takes some effort,” said Capt. Jerry King, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Chief of Contracting. “In order to ensure we have a stable industrial base that can properly repair and maintain our ships, we have to first train the industry about how to do business with the U.S. government, specifically about our Navy's contracting rules and regulations and the technical specifications of our forward deployed ships that require repair and maintenance.”
On the third and final day, commercial ship repair company representatives were able to ask questions during one-on-one sessions with engineers about ship specifications. They also worked with contract specialists to register with the U.S. government’s online award management database and discuss their companies’ capabilities and histories of proven work.
All of these, King said, were important first steps to beginning a mutually beneficial working relationship with the U.S. Navy.
“The success of this event hinged on our ability to better gauge the ship repair market in Northern Europe, generate interest from new vendors, and train them about our ships and our way of doing business,” King said. “I believe we accomplished this.”
He added that almost immediately after the Industry Day, one of the new vendors in attendance bid for — and won — an emergent ship repair action in Northern Europe.
“The vendor supported the requirement the following week at a cost significantly lower than we have previously seen,” King said. “This is just one example of how the Industry Day event immediately improved our competitive base in Northern Europe."
As NAVEUR/NAVAF/U.S. 6th Fleet continues to meet the challenges of today and prepare for future missions in the Northern European area of operation, the need for a reliable ship repair market continues to grow. Industry Day events, like the one in Portsmouth, provide the opportunity for NAVSUP, FDRMC and MSC to lay a strategic path forward as the Fleet’s logistics support agencies, thereby ensuring the Navy’s ships are repaired, maintained, and sustained on time and on budget to support crucial operations.
NAVSUP FLC Sigonella is one of NAVSUP's eight globally-positioned logistics centers that provides for the full range of the fleet's military operations. NAVSUP FLC Sigonella delivers solutions for logistics, business and support services to the Navy, Military Sealift Command, Joint and Allied Forces throughout Navy Region Europe-Africa-Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA).
FDRMC is the maintenance and sustainment arm of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Europe. They support the combatant ships of the 6th fleet with Fleets technical assistance, emergent and voyage repairs of both deploying ships and the European homeported ships as well as the long and short availabilities for those ships homeported in Europe.
MSC is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the rest of the Department of Defense – operating approximately 120 ships around the globe. MSC works seamlessly with key partners to master the maritime and cyber domains, provide on-time logistics, strategic sealift, as well as specialized missions to anywhere in the world, under any condition, 24/7, 365 days a year.
NAVEUR/NAVAF/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.