Fleet Forces Command chief Adm. John Harvey sure raised eyebrows with his Thursday post on the command blog when he chastised those posting comments about “potential mismanagement of Navy projects and funds.”
Harvey said he wants to know about potential problems — and he’s been one to solicit feedback in the past — but a blog, he said, is not the place to voice serious allegations that, if unresolvable by the chain of command, might be better directed to an inspector general.
Harvey appears to be referring specifically to five comments posted at the tail of Feb. 9 post providing an update on his comprehensive review of all software being used in the fleet, dubbed the “Fleet FAM effort”. The initiative aims “to reverse the damage caused by so many years of undisciplined software management in the Fleet and by the many entities who were able to deliver software applications to the Fleet,” Harvey wrote.
The comments begin with a critical post about Automated Work Notification, a replacement for Organizational Maintenance Management System-Next Generation (asleep yet?), a program used to manage and document surface ship maintenance actions that provides an interface for requesting material and spare parts support for a ship’s installed systems.
The problem, the writer, an officer, complains, is that more than $100 million has been spent on development since 2007, yet AWN “does nothing to ease the burden on the Fleet and help Sailors do their jobs” and, in fact, “increases the burden.” At the same time, the Navy has simultaneously developed a “95 percent solution in-house” that does the job, the writer claims.
A follow-on commenter corrected the first writer, saying more than $175 million has been spent on OMMS-NG since 2005. The writer provided an equally negative assessment, saying the money bought the Navy “pretty much nothing, just a bunch of software that is riddled with security vulnerabilities.” The root of the problem, the writer said, lies with Harvey’s own N43, Fleet Maintenance.
Two additional writers poured it on, with a fifth arguing that both AWN and the in-house solution should be skipped over in favor of the existing Fleet Assessment Support Tool, which with some tweaks could do the job. The money would be better spent hiring more subject matter experts at Regional Maintenance Facilities, the writer said.
To Fleet Forces Command’s credit, the comments weren’t deleted — testament to Harvey’s stated desire to hear about problems. But he’d obviously much prefer to air the dirty laundry out of the public eye.
“I want to be clear that I am still very interested in feedback regarding the various topics we routinely discuss on this blog,” Harvey concluded. “As I said in my last post, deckplate feedback has been absolutely critical for me to identify and address some of the biggest issues in the Fleet. But I want to strongly reiterate that when the issues involve matters such as fraud, waste, abuse and the mismanagement of projects and funds, we need to ensure we’re reporting those matters through the proper channels.”
And the problems already aired? Said Harvey, “My staff has been gathering the facts on the issues identified and will determine whether an official investigation is warranted.”