Friday, November 13, 2020

USS Wayne E. Meyer Completes Maintenance

Sometimes it’s good to just be reminded of the routine activities of the fleet.  For example, the Burke class destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer, DDG-108, just completed a Dry Docking Selected Restricted Availability at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF).(1)  This is an extensive maintenance period during which the ship’s hull and systems are maintained and modernized.  The maintenance period began 24-Mar-2020 and the dry docking portion was completed on 5-Nov-2020.


USS Wayne E. Meyer was commissioned in 2009 so this maintenance period is occurring at around the ten year mark of the ship’s life.


I can’t find a detailed description of the work list but the following is a brief description of the similar maintenance period for Wayne E. Meyer’s sister ship, the O’Kane, DDG-77, just to give you a feel for the scope of the work.


… major alterations include a bow strengthening modification, advanced galley modifications to enhance meal prep times and serving capacity, two berthing complex renovations, mast preservation, antenna overhaul, and shafts/rudders/propeller reconditioning.  


The projected scope of work is in excess of 80,000 man-days. The predicted manpower requirements are more than 500 people per day. (4)


Vigor Marine acted as the prime contractor, apparently a first for PHNSY & IMF.  Following is the contract award announcement which puts the price of the maintenance at around $90M.


Vigor Marine LCC, Portland, Oregon, is awarded an $89,336,289 firm-fixed-price contract for the execution of the USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) fiscal 2020 dry-docking selected restricted availability (DSRA).  This availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernization and repair of the USS Wayne E. Meyer.  This is a Chief of Naval Operations scheduled DSRA.  The purpose is to maintain, modernize and repair the USS Wayne E. Meyer.  Vigor Marine LLC will provide the resources capable of completing, coordinating and integrating multiple areas of ship maintenance, repair and modernization for the USS Wayne E. Meyer.  This contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $97,954,544.  Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by November 2020.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $89,336,289 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This requirement was competitively solicited using full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-4464).(2)


Vigor Industrial, of which Vigor Marine is a subsidiary, is based in Portland, Oregon and builds tugs, ferries, and barges as well as performing ship maintenance and repair.  According to Wikipedia, Vigor has seven facilities with ten drydocks, more than 17,000 feet of pier space, and over 2,000 employees.(3)  The company traces back to Todd Pacific Shipyards and Kaiser Shipyard, among others.




Vigor announced in late 2017 that it had won a $1 billion contract to produce U.S. Army landing craft, the largest contract in its history. The company selected Vancouver, Washington as the production site for the vessels.(3)


We’ve often discussed the possibility and desirability of encouraging the growth of smaller shipyards to eventually handle larger naval construction and this might be an example of such a yard.


USS Wayne E. Meyer Departing Dry Dock In Pearl Harbor
This availability is an example of the kind of regular maintenance that the Navy so desperately needs and yet is routinely deferring for various [poor and unwise] reasons.  This is good, if routine and unremarkable, news.  My only concern is whether all the required work is being performed.  I’m hearing too many stories of ships coming out of maintenance periods with work left undone.  For example, the Port Royal, which ran aground off Hawaii a few years ago, had just come out of a maintenance period and yet had several broken systems including GPS and navigation.  If all the required work is being completed, this is good news.  If not, this is just a partial band-aid.  

















  1. My thought about getting a 40-year life would be that they have a one-year major maintenance break at year 9-10, a two-year major maintenance and update break in years 19-21, and another major maintenance break in year 30-31. The idea of the 20-year break would be to update all systems and produce effectively a new ship.

  2. Look following satellite photo of China's 3rd aircraft under construction (now put modules built separately together). Key is a huge civilian cargo ship under construction next to it:|||CVA%20002%20aircraft%20carrier

    This photo, perhaps, answer what many people's concern.

  3. That is a 400m 1312' containership. 61m 200' beam. If they ever stop playing copycat I worry about what size they come up with. Assuming they have some graving docks that can handle the weight and draft.

    1. Key is that unless you have a strong civilian ship building industry, it is difficult to maintain a large fleet.

    2. Its arguable that a Ford is simply too big. Not by a lot, but big enough you are overrunning your shipyard capacity to build and maintain.

      And in the world of smaller Air Groups, what is the point in building bigger carriers to carry lesser numbers of smaller aircraft?

    3. "Key is that unless you have a strong civilian ship building industry, it is difficult to maintain a large fleet."

      Apply the Jones Act to shipping from China and watch those dollars in China being invested into our ship building facilities. They can pay to build us up instead of us building them up for a change.

      China is not going to give up on their largest trading "partner" just because we won't let them send ships directly. If they do, too bad for them. If they try to use aircraft, that is fine too, but they'll need to be U.S. built and crewed as well.

      That would change everything. Contact your congress people!

    4. The original Kennedy carried the same number of fixed wing as Roosevelt in Gulf 1, almost the same flight deck. A CV sized ship could fit the graving docks in Yokosuka, Toulon, Pearl, Philly, and possibly Bayonne.

  4. According to Vigor's website they have 4 NAVSEA-certified drydocks, the largest of which is 960' x 186' located in Portland.

    1. I do see some naval vessels in and out of Portland, but usually its USNS ships. It may be that Im just missing them(??) but I dont think many combatant ships get work done in Portland any more. In the 80s my dad came out of his second retirement to consult/contract sonar system work for the Navy, and had many jobs in Portland, but that was when the Swan Island yards had different owners...

    2. Although to the contrary, I did just read that the. USS McCampbell(DDG) will undergo its midlife modernization in Portland, so.....

  5. So according to the Navy... "This requirement was competitively solicited using full and open competition....with one offer received."

    That only a single shipyard bothered to respond to the tender request should give us an idea of the hopelessly uncompetitive state of the domestic shipbuilding and repair industry.

    And since Vigor Marine was the only bidder, I guess they got to charge whatever they wanted to charge.

    How and why has this situation been allowed to develop? Because (10 U.S. Code § 8680) (Overhaul, repair, etc. of vessels in foreign shipyards: restrictions) states..; "A naval vessel the homeport of which is in the United States or Guam may not be overhauled, repaired, or maintained in a shipyard outside the United States or Guam, other than in the case of voyage repairs."

    In other words, this tender was the complete opposite of 'full and open competition'.

    A sensible approach would be to allow the shipyards of our Japanese and NATO allies to tender for all USN repair contracts, rather than restricting them to tendering only for the vessels that their respective countries homeport.

    That way we could inject a bit of genuine competition into the system, and get a better idea of what we should be paying for this sort of work.

    We would also get our warships repaired, maintained, overhauled, and back in the water more quickly (and perhaps more economically) which I assume is the whole point of the exercise.

    1. "A sensible approach would be to allow the shipyards of our Japanese and NATO allies to tender for all USN repair contracts,"

      There is a potential issue of security with that. Any repair effort would involve pretty intimate contact with classified equipment and that becomes a security issue. There are several 'allies' I'd rather not have access to our classified equipment.

      If all that's needed is to repair a broken railing then, sure, let anyone do it. However, for the kind of extensive overhauls we're talking about it would be very difficult - likely impossible - to adequately secure the classified equipment, areas, and procedures.

    2. Not really. For example the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility in Japan (Regional Maintenance Center) employs thousands of Japanese nationals, and provides the full range of ship repair and modernization to the 22 ships of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces of the US 7th Fleet including the Flagship and the 2 CVNs (as well as voyage repairs to US homeported ships). There are similar but smaller facilities in Spain and Bahrain. In Rota, Spain, we homeport 4 ships, and the maintenance is carried out by a local contractor. None of these overseas maintenance bases has an especially good record in terms of timeliness in performance, but this is mainly down to the usual USN inefficiencies and shortages of US civilian personnel.

    3. I'm reasonably comfortable with Japan performing maintenance but, to give an example, I'd be very hesitant to allow France to have access to a ship. I can think of several other 'allies' that I'd not want to grant access to.

      Do you think there's any degree of effective security in Bahrain????

      I'd be leery about Spain, as well. Their agenda only loosely matches ours and Chinese investments in Spain are a source of concern (as they are in the US!). Given the degree of Chinese penetration of our computer systems, I'd be even more concerned about penetration of Spanish systems.

    4. I agree with you that Bahrain is a bit of an issue although the Navy doesn't seem to think so. The Bahraini population is nearly all Shiite so I expect the Iranians have had their people in there for years. The ships are the last of the old Cyclone-class Coastal Patrol ships, so probably nothing too secret going on there, although since they're all assigned to Navy Special Forces who can say? In Spain we have 4 DDGs home ported in Rota, and the local contractor (civilian) has a good track record for getting the work done on time, but yeah, the Chinese are everywhere these days, and they've probably got people in our dockyards too.

      The point I was making was that since some of our Nato allies - like the Brits for example - have competent and capable ship repair facilities, why not give them the opportunity to tender for this sort of work, rather than put out these BS RFTs where we only get a single response.

    5. There is, of course, another complicating factor and that is US law. 10 U.S. Code § 8680 requires that "A naval vessel the homeport of which is in the United States or Guam may not be overhauled, repaired, or maintained in a shipyard outside the United States or Guam, other than in the case of voyage repairs."

      So, the Navy may not have legally been able to solicit foreign bids.

      Now, if you're advocating changing the law, that's certainly worth considering IF you can either limit the scope to external maintenance (hull, corrosion, etc.) or limit it to countries we believe have secure enough facilities and computer systems that we trust them to work with classified equipment and documents. That last would be difficult since our own systems are not secure!

    6. Yes, that was my initial point above, and as the law stands it's correct that the Navy couldn't have issued the RFT to foreign yards.

      But I wouldn't see it as being a huge obstacle in the future if the will to make it happen was there, as like all bureaucracies, the Navy is pretty good at creative workarounds when it wants to get something done.

      For example, changing a law would be tricky; changing a home port, not so much.

      Alternatively, the President could use his national security powers to override the provision by Executive Order, just as he could, if he wished, in the same way authorize the actual construction of USN ships in foreign shipyards.

      Given that we don't have either the shipyard capacity to build new ships to meet our 355 ship target, or the maintenance capacity to keep the ships we do have in a good state of repair, some form of cooperation with trusted allies - I'm thinking Japan, the UK, Germany (maybe), and Australia seems like a common sense solution.

      And if there's an alternative, I'm not sure what it is.

    7. "the President could use his national security powers to override the provision by Executive Order"

      As the current Covid circumstances have demonstrated repeatedly in court, governors can't use executive or emergency powers to rewrite statutory law so, no, the President could not counter actual law with an Executive Order. However, the law could be easily amended if a good case were put forth. Congress did exactly that for the LCS to allow it to conduct maintenance in foreign facilities so your suggestion is certainly feasible. With proper security measures, I'd agree with Japan, UK, and Australia. I'd have reservations about Germany.

      This issue is related to the construction issue regarding proprietary information. We've had problems with purchasing foreign equipment and being unable to obtain the associated proprietary information for radars and whatnot. The reverse has also happened, that we've denied such information in our own foreign sales to allies. The fear, of course, is unwanted and uncontrolled dissemination of the information to other parties. This is my fear when conducting foreign maintenance but it could be addressed with tight security although that just makes the maintenance harder and more costly. The preferred solution is to increase our own maintenance capacity.

      There's also the issue of parts supply. Obtaining the necessary parts might be a challenge in foreign yards and the resulting cost increases might wind up outweighing the benefits.

      Difficulties aside, your suggestion of foreign maintenance is worth considering even if it were simply limited to external hull and corrosion maintenance. We certainly need more of that!

    8. "As the current Covid circumstances have demonstrated repeatedly in court, ..... the President could not counter actual law with an Executive Order."

      With respect he most certainly could, and the various Covid-related decisions by state and federal courts are not really relevant.

      e.g. while 10 USC §7309 states that "no vessel ... for any of the armed forces, may be constructed in a foreign shipyard", it also states that "The President may authorize exceptions to the prohibition ....when the President determines that it is in the national security interest of the United States to do so."

      With regard to repairs and maintenance to US home-ported ships, the President has multiple clear and specific powers to override 10 U.S. Code § 8680.

      Just for example 50 U.S.C. §§ 1431-1435 states "The President may authorize any agency that exercises functions in connection with the national defense to enter into....contracts ... without regard to other provisions of law relating to contract formation....if the President deems it to be in the interest of national defense".

      These powers are clearer and more specific when the President (or Congress) has declared a State of Emergency, but we already have 35 States of Emergency currently in place, so he could just use one of those.

    9. "We've had problems with purchasing foreign equipment and being unable to obtain the associated proprietary information for radars and whatnot".

      Wow....I didn't know that. I hope that whoever signed that contract had his butt kicked really hard on the way out of the door. Transfer of IP and access to source codes is a pretty basic issue and consideration when you enter in to any sort of contract which has an IT component (which is nearly every contract these days). Hard to believe the Defense Department isn't across that (or maybe not...).

    10. It's not just foreign purchases. The military has had a few cases of clashing over proprietary data on domestic systems, too. It's understandable. A company doesn't want to give up its hard earned proprietary data to the Navy, where it runs the risk of it being disseminated to its competitors, just because they made a sale to the military.

    11. "With respect he most certainly could"

      Only in a case where the law, itself, specifically allowed for it. This has been demonstrated repeatedly in court that governors, for example, cannot change statutory law under the guise of emergency executive orders. Every single case that has gone to court has, ultimately, lost.

      If a law grants the President the specific option to grant waivers then, sure, he can do so.

      " 50 U.S.C. §§ 1431-1435"

      You left out some pretty specific limitations on this power. Per the act,

      "The authority conferred by this section shall not be utilized to obligate the United States in an amount in excess of $50,000 without approval by an official at or above the level of an Assistant Secretary or his Deputy, or an assistant head or his deputy, of such department or agency, or by a Contract Adjustment Board established therein. The authority conferred by this section may not be utilized to obligate the United States in any amount in excess of $25,000,000 unless the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives and in addition, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate ..."

      I would also note that 10 U.S. Code § 8680 which prohibits foreign maintenance does not contain an exception provision.

    12. As this isn’t a legal blog it’s probably better not to get too far into chapter and verse, but good call on the $ limitations on commitment to expense.

      Nevertheless, a position that the President and Commander-in-Chief, in a declared State of National Emergency, perhaps at a time of heightened tensions or potential conflict, does not have Executive Authority to order the Navy to have essential maintenance work on its warships performed at an overseas shipyard, when said work could not be performed at a US shipyard, is in my view, incorrect in law.

      Indeed I think it is quite fanciful to imagine that SCOTUS would even agree to hear such a case, even if some party could be found to litigate it.

      I accept that there have been some recent public health-related cases in which state courts have acted to set boundaries around the powers of state governors in respect of their use of purported executive authority. These decisions in my view are not especially pertinent to the exercise of Executive and National Security powers, where courts traditionally, and for good reason, have been very reluctant to intervene and second-guess the decisions of the Commander-in-Chief especially at a time of Declared National Emergency involving the potential use of the armed forces.

      It’s important to remember that just as the Constitution allows Congress to legislate in a way that limits the exercise of Presidential authority, the Constitution also gives the President certain powers and authorities that cannot be so circumscribed.

    13. The President actually has relatively few enumerated powers in the Constitution (Article II) and none specifically allow the President to supersede acts of Congress.

      Interestingly, Executive Orders are not a specific Constitutional power. They have arisen as a matter of convenience and tradition. Such Orders are subject to judicial review. Per Wiki, "Like both legislative statutes and regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review and may be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution."

      On the subject of emergency powers, the President has a wide array of emergency powers, though, again, none are enumerated in the Constitution. They arise from Acts of Congress and unchallenged convenience. The key point is that they come into play ONLY in the case of a formally declared state of emergency. While one could certainly conceive of an Executive Order temporarily allowing foreign maintenance during a state of emergency, the bar to actually declaring a state of emergency is quite high. It is inconceivable that this mechanism could be used to set up a routine foreign maintenance scenario during normal times. Since the specific clause that prohibits foreign maintenance has no exception clause, a state of emergency would seem to be the only viable scenario.

      As far as what party might wish to litigate a potentially illegally established foreign maintenance arrangement, I would assume that any/every shipyard in the US that loses out on the opportunity to supply the maintenance would be a potential litigant.

      More generally, so many of the President's powers exist only as a matter of convenience and tradition and they exist only until challenged in court and then only if they are upheld. As we've seen in this Covid situation, so many of the various governor's assumed long-standing emergency powers have turned out to be deemed unconstitutional when challenged in court. Presidents try their best to refrain from using questionable, uncommon, or fringe powers specifically out of concern that they may be challenged and found unconstitutional. Such is the case for attempting to act contrary to Congressional statue under the guise of 'in the interest of national security'. Barring a clear and immediate threat to national security, it seems likely that a court would find it difficult to concur with a supposed national security scenario which seems aimed at convenience or circumventing Congressional statute - just my non-legal opinion. The general finding in the various Covid cases has been that the governors do not have the power to rewrite, modify, create, or ignore statutory law even in a state of emergency unless specifically allowed by statue and relatively few of those seem to exist.

      The very short of it is that, barring a war, I can't see any President attempting to authorize foreign maintenance in direct defiance of an Act of Congress. What I can see is Congress being persuaded to amend the Act to allow a specific case of foreign maintenance, as they did for the LCS. As I said, with proper security protocols and, possibly, certain limits on what can an cannot be maintained in a foreign facility, the concept of foreign maintenance is not without merit.

    14. "Transfer of IP and access to source codes is a pretty basic issue"

      Here's an excerpt from a DOT&E annual report on the LCS that addresses the Navy's lack of ownership of intellectual property rights for the LCS radars and the impact that's having on radar assessment:

      "[The Navy] stopped work on the PRA Test Bed for the Freedom variant because a high-fidelity model of the ship’s AN/SPS-75 radar was not being developed. Development of an acceptable radar model requires intellectual property rights that the Navy does not hold and is not actively seeking. Although less critical because of the combat system architecture of the Independence variant, the Navy has also been unable
      to develop a high-fidelity model of that ship’s AN/SPS-77
      radar for the same reason."

  6. Air draft limit in Portland. ESB/ESD are about the limit.

    1. Weve had CGs and DDGs in downtown Portland for Fleet weeks, which brings them up the Wilamette, right past the Swan Island yards, so I dont think height is an issue.

  7. I've written previously about my idea of stronger relationships with the British Commonwealth. With UK going through Brexit, there is an outstanding opportunity for us to do some kind of agreement with them, perhaps bringing them into NAFTA/USMCA. We already have at least informal arrangements with the Quad--Japan, Australia, India, USA. And there is talk in the Commonwealth about two ideas: 1) ANZUK, an alliance of Australia, New Zealand, and UK, and 2) less likely at this point, a united Commonwealth military, which would be no worse than the 4th most powerful military in the world, and the 2nd strongest Navy. We could start with trade and add military cooperation agreements with all of them. Let India and Australia take some of our Indian Ocean commitments, let Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia take some SCS commitments, let Japan, Canada, and Australia help in the Pacific, and let UK take some European commitments, and we could reduce the need for deployments significantly.

    Australia, India, and Japan could be the cornerstones of an alliance to keep China from expanding past the South China Sea. That alliance would seriously threaten both China's seaborne exports and its oil supply chain, both of which are critical. Add in Malaysia and Singapore (two more Commonwealth countries) and Indonesia, and we could pretty much shut off any Chinese trade outbound to the west or inbound from the west (including oil).

    At some point, if we showed the willingness to back up our commitments to the region, I could also see Vietnam and the Philippines coming into the alliance. China has them in a pretty rough bind now, but if we showed a willingness to repel Chinese aggression, and offered economic help, I still think we could bring them in, but we need to start now.

    Where I'm going with this is that if we had those alliances in place, then I would certainly be comfortable with opening up maintenance contracting to yards in UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan, and possibly other members of that alliance. I'd be a little worried about quality from India, and about possible Chinese infiltration in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, but I think we cold control those issues, and I'd be comfortable with the others.

    Also, the potential for adding bases in Subic, Sepanggar, Singapore, Cam Ranh, Fremantle, Mumbai (and possibly Cape Town if we also brought South Africa into the mix) could reduce substantially the strain of deployments.

    It's more a diplomatic issue than a military one, but I could see a good bit of upside potential.

    1. "a united Commonwealth military, which would be no worse than the 4th most powerful military in the world, and the 2nd strongest Navy"

      I have no problem with such an organization, however, there is a very real drawback/limitation that needs to be taken into consideration and that is that each country has its own agenda and geopolitical goals and those goals will not always coincide. The various countries would absolutely not present a unified, coordinated, monolithic front to the Chinese.

      For any given proposed action, some countries would enthusiastically embrace the action, some might reluctantly go along, and some might object and veto/withhold support. We saw this with NATO. Just recently, we saw Spain pull its frigate out of a US carrier group when the time for action came because Spain did not agree with the US approach to Iran.

      You'll recall that in the 1986 attack on Libya (Operation El Dorado Canyon) we were denied overflight and basing use by France, Italy, and Spain.

      And so on.

      Each of those was against terrorists - what could be more unifying and yet our 'allies' did not support us.

      So, I'm all for an alliance such as you describe but to believe that the group would constitute a single military force is unrealistic.

      The issue becomes even more pronounced when you begin including Malaysia, Singapore (China wouldn't allow that!), Indonesia, etc. Those countries REALLY have their own agendas and widely varying levels of cooperation/disagreement with China.

      We should be working toward such alliances but to expect it to actually happen and to achieve much of anything is unrealistic.

    2. Yes, these are interesting times in the world of alliances and defense agreements.

      The Brits already have a strong and long-standing military alliance with Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, and the Australians are moving at warp-speed (relative to the normal speed of diplomacy) to work towards a mutual defense agreement with Japan.

      In recent years we've seen the RAF conduct joint exercises with the Japanese Air Force (and the South Koreans too), and the RN is apparently considering keeping one of its QE-class carriers in the Far East (as they still call it).

      Meanwhile India is shifting away from the non-aligned position it's held to since independence, and towards a closer level of cooperation with the US. In five years or so I wouldn't be surprised to see a joint USN-Indian Naval base in the Andaman Islands (which would drive the Chinese nuts).

      Interesting too to see both the Canadians and the Australians adopting the British Type-26 Frigate as the base ships for their respective navies of the future.

      I was slightly amused to see that both those countries are looking to add another 12 VLS cells to what's already a high-end design, and extend the helicopter grid to accommodate 2 helos. This would make both the 'frigates' 10,000 tonners - Heavy Cruisers under the old Washington Treaty rules !

    3. " I wouldn't be surprised to see a joint USN-Indian Naval base in the Andaman Islands"

      You could be right. If I recall correctly, India provided some refueling and other support to the US Navy, out of Port Blair, Andaman, fairly recently.

    4. It demonstrates the importance of our alliances, which remain important even when our allies don't always do what we would wish them to do, or freeload on us, or generally don't pull their weight.

      If we had paid off the Marcoses (kleptomaniacs though they were) and kept open our bases at Clark Field and Subic Bay the Chinese would never have been able to establish their de facto control of the South China Sea.

  8. Correction, I think ANZUK is actually CANZUK, Canada, Australia, NZ and UK.


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