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INSURVs double under new inspection schedule

Jan. 7, 2013 - 09:35AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 7, 2013 - 09:35AM  |  
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Will the new inspection system improve readiness, or will an INSURV every 30 months, with no outside help, push crews to the brink? Let us know at navylet@navytimes.com. Please include your name, rank/rating and duty station or hometown; your letter could be used in a future edition of Navy Times.

The Navy overhauled the Board of Inspection Survey process last week and will now subject ships to the rigorous test twice as often.

Instead of inspecting a ship's material readiness every five years, INSURVs will be done every 2˝ years, and there will be two different types of inspections. Officials also revamped scoring to involve a point system.

It's a huge shift for the inspections and will affect everyone from the commanding officer to the most junior sailor. The first ship to be surveyed under the new rules will be the destroyer Momsen this month.

What you need to know:

1. Why they're doing it. Five-year inspections didn't work because the crucial evaluation made ships put an inordinate amount of resources into getting their crews and ship to standards, said INSURV President Rear Adm. Robert Wray.

These tests too often occurred as a ship was winding down after a tough deployment, he added.

"The goal is to make this a standard part of the pre-deployment prep," he said.

Additionally, the old scoring system did not give a detailed-enough perspective on the extent of a ship's problems. In some cases, a ship could receive an "unsatisfactory" and be ready to deploy days later, Wray said.

Nor could the three-grade score allow for easy statistical comparisons between vessels.

2. The good news. Navy brass hopes more regular inspections will create a "culture of material readiness" where ships are always fit for combat. They hope crews will no longer preen their ship for an upcoming INSURV and that inspectors will get a more candid, "come as your are" look at a ship's condition. Maintaining material readiness will be a major part of the deployment preparation process, and officials expect that this pre-deployment work will prepare a ship for a successful inspection.

3. The bad news. Not only will inspections be more frequent, ships also will have to prepare on their own — they can no longer bring in outside help. And the inspections will occur in pre-deployment periods, a time frame when crews are already busy prepping for their upcoming cruise.

4. Two inspections. There will be two types of inspections, and they will occur 30 months apart. One will be a traditional INSURV during the ship's fleet readiness plan cycle. On a destroyer, for example, this evaluation will include a total of about 75 civilian and military inspectors and take around four days, Wray said.

Then, 30 months later, there will be another inspection with the type commander, assisted by INSURV. On a destroyer, this will include 25 uniform officers and just over two days to complete the inspection, he said.

5. How scoring will work. The new scoring will use a point system to evaluate ships. Under the old system, a ship could be deemed "satisfactory" at best, or "degraded" if one fault mission area was discovered or "unsatisfactory" if two or more areas were lacking.

About 6 percent of ships were unsatisfactory since the establishment of the three-tiered grading. In 2012, both the http://www.navytimes.com/prime/2012/11/PRIME-navy-destroyer-mccain-fails-insurv-inspection-111112/">destroyer John S. McCain and fast-attack submarine Hampton didn't make the cut.

Now the board will use a weighted average of 30 scores based a 100-point scale. There is not a pass or fail, Wray said, but rather a sliding scale of how positive or negative a ship is compared with others in its class.

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