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 USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) turns into the James River as it gets underway. Ford departed Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding and returned to sea for the first time since beginning its post-shakedown availability in July 2018 to conduct sea trials.

 

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Liaison Officers (LNOs) are the primary point of contact between NAVSUP and four Maritime Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and two Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) directorates. Serving as logistics and supply chain advocates within both organizations, they ensure alignment and standardization of effective life cycle sustainment policies, processes, and tools. They assist NAVSUP in its role as Navy’s end-to-end supply chain integrator, with more effective planning and execution for acquisition and sustainment programs, while advancing the overall logistics and supply chain competency across all PEOs and NAVSEA.

“Our LNOs are high impact, knowledgeable supply chain experts,” said Rear Adm. Pete Stamatopoulos, commander, NAVSUP. “They work in a very complicated operating environment providing key support to PEOs and NAVSEA to protect and improve Navy’s end-to-end maritime supply chains and lifecycle logistics.”

Key LNO functions include engaging across a product’s life cycle to standardize processes, ensuring the fielding of sustainable and cost effective systems, and supporting consideration of all integrated product support elements in each phase of product design and acquisition. This requires LNOs to develop impactful engagement strategies and maintain high fidelity communications across NAVSUP, PEO and NAVSEA commands, as well as with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy staff, Fleet, Type Commanders, and other stakeholders. LNOs collaborate with and support a wide variety of mission partners to identify and resolve supply and life cycle sustainment issues and gaps, focused toward enhancing Fleet warfighter readiness.

“NAVSUP LNOs are an integral part of our team for the Ford program,” said Kevin Cormier, deputy program manager, PMS-378, Ford-Class Program Office. “Being embedded with a program office that is delivering new capability provides the LNOs with a unique view of how the senior levels of NAVSEA operate, and synchronize NAVSUP efforts accordingly.”

In the spring of 2019, NAVSUP N51 was Fleet and Warfare Integration Division Director Capt. Blake Kent and his Deputy Charla Fridley, and they reimagined the NAVSUP Liaison Program to be more agile in elevating tactical challenges into strategic level focus areas. The goal was to drive more effective unity of effort between NAVSUP and NAVSEA to improve material availability in support of new construction, modernization and repair of vessels. LNOs enthusiastically embraced the new direction and set out building and maintaining communications and relationships within their host organizations and across the whole of NAVSUP.

“Having a NAVSUP LNO within PEO USC has been tremendously helpful to keep us informed of NAVSUP initiatives, and align program sustainment objectives for better coordination and discussion of efforts across the board,” said Rear Adm. Casey Moton, program executive officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (USC). “I think the program facilitates an open channel that ultimately saves us time and provides efficiencies to better serve the Fleet.”

The new team of NAVSUP LNOs was established and positioned at PEO Aircraft Carriers, PEO Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS), PEO USC, PEO Ships, NAVSEA 04S (Industrial Operations) and NAVSEA 21 (Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization). They were hired to operate as the NAVSUP Commander’s direct representatives and to promote communications and transparency back to NAVSUP from host commands. LNOs maneuver freely within and between commands, engaging at the flag, senior executive service and senior leader levels focusing on high-value improvement initiatives of mutual benefit.

“The NAVSUP LNO has been instrumental in establishing the appropriate level of logistics support to some of most critical technologies on the Ford program. In each case, the LNO was able to short circuit the communication valley that inherently exists between organizations because of their unique understanding of both NAVSEA and NAVSUP program goals, operating procedures, and chain of command. Issues are solved in a much quicker manner because they are addressed at the right level, in the right area of the organization,” explained Cormier.

By proactively engaging, LNOs create synergies, facilitate information exchange for supply chain-related issues, and provide insights and expert advice to PEOs and NAVSEA. Their efforts support life cycle sustainment plans and life cycle support concepts. LNOs synchronize operations to ensure alignment between commands, furthering the expeditious delivery and affordability of systems. This requires a deep understanding of both supported and supporting commands’ processes, culture, operating styles, and organization, which enables them to be seen as the resident expert and a conduit between both organizations.

“Being an LNO provides tremendous opportunities to shape the future of sustainment across the fleet,” said Drew Brown, NAVSUP liaison officer to PEO USC. “Working with DASN staff, NAVSUP senior leaders, NAVSEA admirals, and executive directors allows me to influence strategic objectives to better align organizations toward the common goal of improving access to whatever it is they need at the right time to accomplish the mission.”

Individual LNO successes can have a wide area of effect. As an example, NAVSUP LNO Becky Coleman led a cross-cutting team in taking a strategic look at the MK-110 gun weapon system across 11 organizations. Together, they identified supply chain support issues of the gun mount installed on Coast Guard National Security Cutter, Offshore Patrol Cutter, Littoral Combat Ships and future installations on the new Constellation class frigate. The review identified over 3,000 new provisioning candidates, resulting in updated parts availability, increased access to contractors, and identification of maintenance significant parts.

Since the NAVSUP LNO program was reinvigorated, an ongoing marketing campaign reinforces the LNOs’ new role so mission partners see them as strategic assets to advance the mission and ensure alignment and integration. NAVSUP 041, the Maritime Strategic Engagement and Weapons Platform Integration Division led by Capt. Troy Gronberg and Charla Fridley, continue to promote the LNOs’ role and swarm high-value initiatives such as Naval Sustainment System-Supply (NSS-Supply), NSS-Shipyard, and Strategic Supplier Management relations. Their relentless pursuit of improved supply chain processes and policy with PEOs and NAVSEA are setting weapon systems up for long-term sustainment success.

“The NAVSUP LNOs provide critical and time-sensitive logistics and supply support to mission partner PEOs and directors in support of NAVSUP goals and in alignment with NSS-Supply priorities,” said Mark Wheeler, NAVSUP LNO to PEO aircraft carriers.

The NAVSUP LNO program continues to add value to NAVSEA and the Navy with two new LNOs who will soon be assigned to PEO Strategic Submarines (PEO SSBN) – formerly PEO Columbia – and PEO Attack Submarines (PEO SSN) – formerly PEO Submarines.

NAVSUP is headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsup and https://twitter.com/navsupsyscom.

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