Approaches to Strategic Sealift Readiness
The Rand Corporation
ISBN/EAN: 9781977402769 - RR-3049-NAVY
August 8, 2019
The U.S. military must be able to move large amounts of military cargo on time lines dictated by the operational plans of combatant commanders when fighting in areas far removed from U.S. territory. To meet these transportation requirements when the need arises, the U.S. Navy maintains a fleet of 61 commercial-standard ships — the strategic sealift fleet. This fleet must be maintained to a certain level of readiness to respond when the need arises.

The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) was interested in whether the readiness targets for the fleet are being achieved and how the management of this fleet affects readiness. Strategic sealift is maintained by two different organizations — the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) — under different readiness management constructs. The ships in both fleets are held to the same readiness standard. Although these two fleets are held to the same standard, they report different readiness levels.

The authors addressed six questions that apply to sealift readiness requirements and the mechanisms for generating this readiness. To conduct this analysis, they used a mix of data reported in various systems and the assessments of subject matter experts. They determined that, though organizational management plays a role, many other factors also have a substantial effect on strategic sealift readiness — including requirements determination, material readiness, and personnel readiness.

The research team concluded that each of these areas can be improved in ways that could collectively increase strategic sealift readiness and makes recommendations toward that end.


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