Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Maintenance Isn't Sexy: USNavy

I see I've not set up a label for "maintenance", but I'm sure I've observed that it's an important and often overlooked issue.  What happens when you build a system, as we were building a software system in the mid-80's, is you can't keep building without adding more people/resources.  If you start with 10 people working on the new, once it gets deployed, you need 1 person to maintain the deployed software, leaving only 9 to build the next phase.  And so on.

Furthermore, maintenance is not sexy. You can't tell the people who are paying the bills they won't get anything for their money, just a continuance of the current service (maybe sneaking in a couple tweaks along the way).

The DC area Metro system has found this out.  They built a system starting in the mid-70's, but skimped on maintenance along the way.  Consequently last year and this service has been restricted on various sections so they could do catch-up maintenance.  People aren't happy about it.

Now it seems the USNavy is in the same boat.  GAO has surveyed their shipyards and produced a video of their major points.  An example, using 80+ year old equipment to service nuclear submarines, then discovering the furnace didn't heat the parts evenly, so they had to reinspect years worth of work.

I'm cynical today, so I'm sure Congress will continue to give DOD new weapons/things they don't ask for and fail to provide the money to fix the shipyards.  That will go until we lose a ship because of faulty repairs.  (Training is "maintenance" of your human equipment and lack of training is blamed for the recent collisions the Seventh Fleet has experienced .)

No comments: