Feb. 7, 2022

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A weekly publication of Newport News Shipbuilding


The NNSFORWARD Strategy has been published annually for the past four years to provide all shipbuilders with a general understanding of the goals and objectives required to move our shipyard forward. The strategy’s five overarching objectives are in the boxes to the right.

We will demonstrate to our people that we care about them, their development and their overall well-being by focusing on basic needs.

We will transform our business to become more agile and efficient with a focus on people, technology and our culture.


Dear Shipbuilders, One of the challenges of leading a business as large as Newport News Shipbuilding is ensuring all 25,000 shipbuilders understand our strategy and how it relates back to our mission. While I rely on leaders across the shipyard to help make these connections, it is also important every shipbuilder has an opportunity to read and learn about it for themselves. Since 2017, the five components of our NNSFORWARD Strategy – Enable Our Workforce, Transform Business Operations, Execute Efficiently, Grow the Business Base and Lead the Way – have been, and will continue to be, our operational compass. This special edition of Currents takes a look back at last year’s accomplishments that we will build upon in the months ahead, and introduces our business priorities for 2022. Central to our strategy is improving safe work execution. It can’t be said enough – we are the only shipyard in the United States to design and build, refuel and deactivate nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. And we are one of only two U.S. shipyards capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines. Our work is among the most complex – anywhere in the world. It is also among the most rewarding. It may not always feel rewarding with the challenges of operating during a pandemic at a time when we have more work than we’ve had in 40 years. But I want every shipbuilder to remember that the Navy entrusts its most difficult jobs to us for a reason. Take pride in knowing you are part of a 136-year-old team that rises to every challenge to keep our Navy strong and our nation safe. As you read through this publication, please think about your specific job and how you contribute to our purpose. I’d also like you to think about why it is important to always work to the highest of standards and to continually learn and improve – and why this mindset is needed for every single job at Newport News Shipbuilding. I look forward to the many opportunities this year will bring, and I thank you for all that you do. All the best,

Jennifer Boykin President Newport News Shipbuilding

We will improve our business execution by improving processes based on lean principles and continual learning.

We will sustain our core businesses and create innovative products and services; and collaborate to grow all HII segments.

We will set our company‘s vision, ensure alignment around direction, and communicate how we “win” as one team.


The Enable Our Workforce component of the NNSFORWARD Strategy focuses on putting shipbuilders first by providing development opportunities and a work environment that inspires them to be their best. Significant efforts continued to protect shipbuilders and help them operate effectively in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A vaccination center and COVID-19 testing site were established, preventative safety measures were practiced across the yard, and remote work arrangements and teleconferencing became more integrated in business operations. Employee development opportunities were made available at all levels of the company, including craft training through craft learning centers across the shipyard and NNS’ Deckplate Leadership Development program that was revised to enhance frontline leadership.

We also enabled our workforce by: • I ncreasing Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Task Team inspections to expand data collection, promote on-the-spot corrections and improve overall safety. •D eveloping craft proficiency assessments across all programs to better understand training and development needs and create tailored training plans in high-priority areas. •C ontinuing the efforts of the COVID-19 Crisis Action Group (CAG), comprised of representatives from across the shipyard, to respond to the pandemic. Shipbuilder Darren Jackson leads other safety task team members through a game to reinforce safety principles.



The second element of the NNSFORWARD Strategy focuses on transforming business operations to be more agile and efficient. Over the past five years, NNS has invested heavily in digital capabilities that are now being deployed across the shipyard. Enterprise (CVN 80), Columbia (SSBN 826), and subsequent ships in those classes are being built using digital tools in lieu of paper-based products. In 2021, NNS deployed a new phase management system across 13 hulls to break down large, complex programs into smaller, more manageable increments called phases. This system will be expanded across the shipyard this year.

We also transformed the business by: •M easuring and analyzing rework on John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), Enterprise (CVN 80) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and addressing root causes. •D elivering more than 9,800 digital work instructions to shipbuilders constructing Enterprise (CVN 80), Doris Miller (CVN 81), Columbia (SSBN 826) and Wisconsin (SSBN 827). • Completing major facilities projects including Structural Fabrication and Assembly (SFA) panel line upgrades, and installation of another submarine Segment Assembly Machine (SAM) fixture. Construction also began on a new aircraft carrier assembly hall and extension to the Modular Outfitting Facility (MOF). USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) arrived at NNS on May 6, 2021, for its refueling and complex overhaul, which will upgrade the ship’s combat-ready status and get her back to sea for another 25 years.



Another NNSFORWARD Strategy priority is Execute Efficiently, which leverages standardization, lean thinking and innovation to improve NNS business processes and help shipbuilders work smarter, not harder. Last year, NNS began laying the foundation for our Execution Operating System (EOS), a set of best practices for program management and execution defined by seven core process areas: labor resource management, schedule adherence, risk and opportunity management, change management, high-risk work, rework management, and continuous improvement. Standardized policies and procedures have been created for each that will help set the stage for wide-scale deployment across all programs.

We also executed efficiently by: •E stablishing operations control centers to allow for visibility of the entire value stream constraints to improve performance. •D eploying leader standard work and win/loss metrics across multiple shops and programs. •E stablishing a material control tower for Enterprise (CVN 80) that enables buyers to better see and address at-risk purchase orders to minimize deckplate disruption. •G rowing long-term agreements with key suppliers for more predictable material flow. Thanks to the quality work of NNS shipbuilders, Virginia-class submarine Montana (SSN 794) successfully completed alpha sea trials on February 4, 2022. Alpha trials represent the very first time a ship gets underway to do what she was designed and built to do, including submerging for the first time and performing high-speed maneuvers on the surface and under water.



The shipyard is the busiest it’s been in at least four decades. While we are fortunate to have stability today and into the future, there’s no room for complacency in shipbuilding. The fourth component of the NNSFORWARD Strategy helps ensure we stay on top of our game and continue to grow. Last year marked the christening of New Jersey (SSN 796) and the roll-out of Montana (SSN 794) taking it another step closer to sea trials, which were successfully completed in February. The Columbia-Class Submarine Program started off strong with 100% quality on a critical component casting pour for the lead boat, and the first pour for the first casting for Wisconsin (SSBN 827), the nation’s second Columbia-class submarine. On the aircraft carrier side of the business, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) successfully completed full-ship shock trials, returned to NNS for a six-month planned incremental availability (PIA), and turned over all advance weapons elevators to ship’s force in support of redelivery this year. NNS celebrated the ceremonial first cut of steel for aircraft carrier Doris Miller (CVN 81) and John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) surpassed 800 compartments turned over to ship’s force. USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrived in spring 2021 for her refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) with more advanced equipment removal accomplished by NNS than any previous RCOH, while similar work on USS George Washington (CVN 73) entered the home stretch.

We also continued to grow the business base by: •D emonstrating submarine concept design capability by creating thousands of digital designs in support of SSN(X), a future class of attack submarines, at an unprecedented level of detail. •B eing awarded a $95 million USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) PIA execution contract. •R eaching agreement with the Navy for a $295 million single-phase award delivery of John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) that includes incorporation of the ship’s warfare systems. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) successfully completed full-ship shock trials in August 2021, which validate a ship’s shock hardness and ability to sustain operations in a simulation combat environment using live ordnance. U.S. Navy photo



The Lead the Way component is about setting the company‘s new direction, communicating an inspiring vision, and uniting as one team to lead the way forward. Last year, this component focused on strengthening NNS’ discipline to nuclear standards, improving employee engagement and community involvement, and leadership development. Diversity of thought and sharing of perspectives were common themes last year that led to inviting guest speakers, including Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan, former commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and Troy Mueller, director of NAVSEA O8’s Nuclear Technology Division, to share their expertise with NNS leadership. A Forward Thinking podcast was also launched to provide NNS leaders with a platform to share personal experiences and lessons learned with their colleagues on topics from safety to the importance of nuclear standards.

We also moved forward by: •D eveloping Standard Leadership Behaviors and a self-assessment tool that allows leaders to understand how they align with expectations. •P artnering with the Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat to create Team Submarine Management University to accelerate the size, capacity and diversity of the Virginia-class submarine leadership team. • I ntroducing the Leadership Corner and Leader Discussion Series with blog articles, videos, and other leadership resources to help all employees develop their leadership skills. •S upporting diversity by achieving 100% participation among NNS leaders to identify Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion goals on their 2021 performance agreements. It takes the innovation and perseverance of the entire shipbuilding team working together to make ship milestones like the Virginia-class submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) christening a reality. Special events like ship christenings help NNS attract the next generation of shipbuilders, like the future shipbuilder pictured here.



2022 Priorities NNS has come out of a tough year on a No Fail Mission to improve performance across every organization and every team for 2022. A streamlined operational framework established last year set us up for success in 2022. Our safe execution, driven by a collective desire to continuously learn and improve, will ensure it. This year’s 11 business priorities are highlighted in the adjacent boxes.

• I nnovate hiring and retention practices to support workload demand. •A ccelerate craft, foreman and construction supervisor time to proficiency. •S trengthen work execution management skills and behaviors of all leaders.

• F ully deploy NNS operating structure through phase management to improve execution and schedule predictability.


USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) sit side by side – just two of the 25 ships currently being worked by NNS shipbuilders to ensure the U.S. Navy has the mission-ready fleet it needs to protect the American way.

• Improve availability of procured material.

•S ecure key role in critical submarine design efforts.

• Improve manufactured material delivery to construction teams.

•D evelop and execute the plan for optimum acquisition of future aircraft carriers.

• Develop and deploy construction management work standards.

•S trengthen our integrated safety and health program to keep every employee injury-free. •S trengthen our commitment to continuous learning and improvement in support of our overall mission and purpose.


Cover: A shipbuilder works on a unit that will become part of the new Enterprise (CVN 80) that will defend America’s freedom until the 2078 timeframe.

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Produced by Newport News Shipbuilding Communications Division. Currents@hii-nns.com Currents is published every Monday for employees of Newport News Shipbuilding. To submit a story, visit nns.huntingtoningalls.com/currents.