View our Developing Commonality Programs for an Affordable Fleet Video

John Sofia, Senior Subject Matter Expert, provides an overview of LCE's Commonality Program


LCE has the experience and subject matter experts who can reduce your cost to develop, purchase and maintain systems and components by developing and implementing commonality strategies and programs for your organization. 

The need for commonality is expressed succinctly in the Second Edition of the NAVSEA Strategic Business Plan 2013-2018, titled “It’s All About the Ships”:

“Warfighting performance is threatened by the cost of developing and fielding capabilities. Fleet, acquisition, and lifecycle costs are increased by creating multiple configurations for similar capabilities across different ships. Also increased are the costs to operate and equip ships, and train crews.”

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In an August 1, 2013 letter to the commanders of NAVSEA, NAVAIR, NAVSUP and SPAWAR, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command addressed the topic of configuration variance reduction, a core element of commonality programs:

“The 62-ship DDG class has 42 different configurations of only eight major Command, Control, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) systems. This is but one example of the configuration variance problem in the Surface Fleet that ranges from high-level electronics, such as combat systems, C4I systems, engineering control systems, to the number of valves we carry in the supply system. Such variance causes inefficiency in maintenance, logistics, individual training and personnel distribution. The current level of configuration variance in surface ships is not sustainable and must be reduced to manageable levels. … Variance reduction must become a fundamental principle within the acquisition enterprise to reduce total ownership costs from system development through operations and support.”

Commonality programs clearly support the first two directives of Better Buying Power 3.0, “Achieving Dominant Capabilities through Technical Excellence and Innovation”:

  • Achieve Affordable Programs
  • Achieve Dominant Capabilities While Controlling Lifecycle Costs

The need for commonality is also expressed in the NAVSEA Commander’s Intent, “Culture of Affordability”:

“Cost of Products: Look for ways to build, maintain, and acquire ships and ship systems more affordably. Ensure we understand lifecycle cost implications for technical specifications and contract requirements we impose. Pursue common solutions where they make sense, balancing acquisition and in-service cost to minimize Total Ownership Cost and reduce variation and proliferation of non-standard parts, material, and equipment.”

Implementing commonality:

  • Leverages commercial best practices to identify and reduce variation and cost
  • Defines the true cost drivers and provides an approach for analyzing those costs
  • Provides a decision tool for leadership to identify cost drivers and strategies to address those costs
  • Reduces cost in vessel design, modernization and logistics
  • Challenges requirements to reduce cost
  • Aligns systems, sub-systems, components and architectures across vessels, ship classes and platforms
  • Reduces risk in selecting items
  • Shrinks the logistics footprint by reducing variation and eliminating stock and stock numbers
  • Supports complexity reduction in configuration management

Developing a commonality program that delivers promised benefits requires experienced support to guide you through both the technical and cultural dimensions of new expectations for your lifecycle strategy. Life Cycle Engineering experts can help you:

  • Develop long-term integrated commonality strategies and plans to reduce variation and cost
  • Develop/modify policy, process and guidance documents
  • Modify ship and modernization specifications
  • Develop contract language, CDRLs and DIDs
  • Establish metrics for reducing variation and logistics footprint
  • Train personnel on commonality fundamentals
  • Enhance the culture of affordability
  • Establish an oversight board to drive commonality within the Acquisition, Engineering, Modernization and Logistics communities
  • Apply available tools to integrate commonality into vessels

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