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CHIPS Articles: Acting SECNAV Orders DON Stem-to-Stern Capability-Based Strategic Review

Acting SECNAV Orders DON Stem-to-Stern Capability-Based Strategic Review
By CHIPS Magazine - January-March 2020
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly cited three critical pressurizing mandates that are limiting the DON’s ability to deliver the Integrated Naval Force required by the National Defense Strategy.

In response, Mr. Modly issued the Stem-to-Stern (S2S) memo Feb. 18 emphasizing the department’s need to build a bigger Navy to meet NDS requirements. “This is a strategic and political imperative. Our recent future force assessments, including the 2019 Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment (INFSA) call for increased ship numbers, technological capabilities, and varying new types of supporting vessels to be constructed within a strategically relevant timeframe of 10 years,” he wrote.

The second pressurizing mandate is the need to reduce … “readiness and lethality shortfalls that evolved after years of increased operational tempo, budget caps, and sequestration. The third is that we must begin a 40-year recapitalization of our nuclear ballistic missile submarine force. This requirement will consume a significant portion of our shipbuilding budget in the coming years and squeeze out funds we need to build a larger fleet,” Modly wrote.

These challenges exist within a flat budget environment that is expected to continue for several years, he wrote. “Therefore, we must act now to make tough, fiscally-informed choices in order to fund our key strategic priorities using the budget we have, not the budget we wish we had. We must find savings within the Department to reinvest in the kind of decisive naval force that will provide for our nation's future economic and political security. The bottom line is that we need to find at least $40 billion in real line-of-accounting savings to fund the development, construction, and sustainment of this new fleet over the next 5 years, and to set the Department up for continuing this trajectory in the 5 years that follow.

To realize these savings, Mr. Modly commissioned a DON Stem-to­Stern (S2S) Review. “The S2S will apply a strategic lens to the DON program, with a fiscal goal of generating $40 billion in savings (average $8 billion/year) across the FY 2022-2026 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). These savings will be repurposed in accordance with my top three priorities: designing and building a future integrated naval force structure (355+ Ship Navy by 2030); advancing our intellectual capacity and ethical excellence; and accelerating digital modernization across the force. While $40 billion may seem like a big number, it is only 7 percent of the DON's discretionary topline remaining when force structure, associated manpower and OPTEMPO are fenced.

“The S2S will identify low priority, redundant, or legacy capabilities, programs, processes, or headquarters functions that can be realigned, eliminated, or reduced to meet the DON' s resource needs,” the Acting SECNAV wrote.

No part of the DON program is exempt from review, Mr. Modly said. However, the DON S2S will specifically consider the following initiatives:

  • Duplication of lnformation technology systems and infrastructure;
  • Consolidation/elimination of headquarters, commands, and organizations;
  • Streamlined naval logistics;
  • Enabling capabilities that can be outsourced;
  • Enabling capabilities that can be consolidated to support an integrated naval force (e.g., installation management, education and training pipelines);
  • Reductions in Global Force Management offerings;
  • Significant reductions in service support contracts; and
  • Repurposing ofMILPERS/CIVPERS/contractors due to program realignments.

S2S reviews immediately, Modly wrote, and will be co-chaired by Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy; Director, Office of the Chief Management Officer; three-star (or equivalent) from each Service; and will include representatives of the Assistant Secretaries of the Navy and the Chief Information Officer. The Business Operations Management Council (BOMC) will serve as the four-star body to review the work of the S2S. Schedules for S2S Review meetings and the BOMC will be promulgated separately.

The S2S will conclude April 15, 2020 to support the June 2020 Program Objective Memorandums submission to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Points of contact for this effort are Ms. Jodi Greene, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy ( or (703) 614-4513) and Ms. Robin Tomlin, Director, Office of the Navy CMO ( or (703) 693-6838).

Mr. Modly pointed to similar reviews conducted by the Department of the Army which identified $13 billion over the Future Year Defense Plan in a process the Army named “Night Court."

Download the Department of the Navy Stem-to-Stern (S2S) Review memorandum

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly
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