SSP has a 50-year history of providing credible sea-based deterrent missile systems. Our deterrent systems have been and remain a key factor in preventing nuclear war, and they helped our Nation win the Cold War. We still have this vital deterrent mission. However, delivery of high-quality and well supported systems to the fleet on time and within budget is no longer sufficient. In the current environment and in the foreseeable future, it is necessary to better this performance to achieve more with greater efficiency and to free resources to address emergent needs.
Current Environment and Future Direction
Since the end of the Cold War, the entire defense environment has been changing; over the decade of the 1990s, the nation accepted a “peace dividend,” with decreasing resources the DoD norm. Then change increased markedly when the September 11, 2001 attack formally initiated the War on Terror. The Secretary of Defense accelerated the transformation effort that he had begun upon taking office, and overall Defense resources increased somewhat. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) provided a vision termed Sea Power 21. This vision served as the setting to align Navy efforts, hasten progress, and realize the potential of the Navy’s people. It identified the concepts that lie at the heart of the Navy’s continued operational effectiveness: Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing, which respectively describe projection of precise and persistent offensive power, projection of global defensive assurance, and projection of joint operational independence. More recently, the CNO emphasized themes for 2005: “Mission First, People Always,” addressing the importance of Navy people, “Transforming Naval Forces,” as to how the Navy fights and how it conducts business, and “Excellence in Warfighting.”
Within the Navy acquisition community, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) (ASN(RD&A)) issued a Blueprint for the Future that provided guiding principles for research, development, and acquisition. These principles are “think like a business and run a tight ship,” “innovate and collaborate to deliver effective, affordable weapons for Sailors and Marines,” and “integrate systems and develop people.”
A long held SSP tenet has been that “our customer is the sailor in the fleet.” Supporting the warfighter remains our primary responsibility. However, as the above cited direction makes clear, SSP also must introduce further efficiencies into technical and business processes and must develop the SSP workforce in order to increase productivity and to provide a rewarding and challenging career environment where the stability necessary for productivity gain is present. This parallel focus on improving processes and developing people will serve to increase affordability as well. In this way, SSP will be able to improve in all four business views: products to the warfighter, people, process, and financial—in a balanced manner. As a result, SSP’s strategic deterrence mission is enhanced to encompass a larger and more diverse focus. Similarly, our vision has evolved, but our core values remain fundamental to continued and increased excellence in a changing world.