Newport News Shipbuilding: Two CVN Contract Would Reduce Costs, Enhance Workforce Stability
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The prospect of a single order to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs) for the Navy will enable Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) to avoid the peaks and valleys of workforce fluctuation and allow for economies, a company official said.
Speaking to reporters April 10 at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition, Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), a Huntington Ingalls company, said a two-carrier order would achieve savings through labor efficiency, the value of money and further economic order quantity.
Regarding the dual-CVN order’s effect on the workforce, Boykin said “when you move the centers closer, you don’t have a valley,” meaning that the workload will be more steady and result in fewer layoffs.
“We anticipate we won’t have a valley in the workforce,” she said.
Twice before, the Navy has procured two Nimitz-class CVNs from NNS under the same order, the last in June 1988.
NNS has received the Navy’s request for proposal on a dual order for CVN 80 and CVN 81 and is engaged in analysis of the plan.
“The impact is going to be significant to us and the whole supply chain,” Boykin said, if the order materializes.
Boykin’s company is spending “$70 million a year in workforce development” and currently is hiring 400 workers a month right now.”
Boykin said that hiring pace covers attrition in addition building the shipyard’s workforce from 22,000 to 23,000 workers.