I saw this op-ed and thought I'd post it here for discussion.
I, quite frankly, think he has a narrow view of the issue.
One shipbuilder told me that a boat that would cost industry 800k, would cost the government 1.2 million. He said, I don't know why that is, but it is. This would be, say, a 60 foot fishing boat design that the government would use for research.
Personally I support government shipbuilding projects. I believe that there are good spin offs over and above the purchasing. Trade schools have to ramp up their courses, students have better options for careers, money gets pushed into the national economy in the form of wages and sub-contracts. It drives up spending for goods that otherwise wouldn't be purchased. Ships and boats have be docked and refitted regularly which gives a future income.
I have dealt with a fairly small yard, the one in the example, they build and refit fishing boats and boats up to about 80 feet. Government money floats them in bad times. They were successful in navigating the ways of government and stayed solvent over 50 years. They shut down for a week in hunting season so that employees can chase deer, the staff seem pretty satisfied with their jobs.
But why do other shipyards fail?
There is a perception that the government causes it, but as my old boss used to say, we are not in the business of bankrupting companies. Is it bad project management on the side of government? It's not like that doesn't happen. Once a contract is signed, that's the ship that is going to be delivered. If there is re-work it alters the contract and prices have to be re-negotiated.
Is it the paper burden that doing a government contract implies? Or the equipment that a government ship entails?
If a ship needs major re-work because of a failure of the contractor, why is the government held to blame? They are looking at the need of a hull that will possibly be in service twice if not three times as long as a commercial equivalent. The inspectors tend to be pickier, after all they are spending public money. Saying all that, I have heard of some horror stories on both side of the table.
If this has a roll-on effect on future contracts that the Contractor has in place, isn't it the failure of the yard manager. I'm not referring to asking over and above the contract, I'm talking about meeting a contract that is in place. If shaving corners while building causes the contractor overruns because he is caught out, why is government held to blame.
https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat ... hipbuilder