The Navy is establishing a new deputy assistant secretary role that will focus on sustainment, according to a top service official.
Navy acquisition chief Hondo Geurts during a roundtable at the Pentagon today told reporters the service will officially stand up the position Oct. 1. The individual will report to Geurts.
He or she will "have oversight of that function from a policy and oversight activity much like we do for acquisition programs," Geurts told reporters.
"That won't fundamentally change . . . [where] the work [is] getting done in the case of ship depot maintenance -- largely through [Naval Sea Systems Command chief Adm. Tom Moore]'s team," he continued.
Geurts noted the new role's creation follows a provision in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill that places sustainment under his purview as the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.
While Geurts did not disclose who would fill the deputy assistant secretary job, he said work establishing the new post is ongoing.
"What's particularly I think encouraging from my perspective is it will also let us continue to draw the research and development functions, the acquisition functions, and the sustainment functions closer together and so that we can ensure we're fully leveraging all the things we're doing in science and technology and [research and development] to help sustainment," he said.
The Navy will be "taking lessons learned from sustainment into new construction and then more closely linking new construction to the sustainment through life-support activities, so we don't get a handoff or issues there," Geurts added.
The Navy's decision to form the new deputy assistant secretary role also comes as the service grapples with ship maintenance issues like a submarine maintenance logjam that has caught lawmakers' attention.
House appropriators earlier this year directed the Navy to shift $653 million from its Virginia-class submarine account to operations and maintenance. The Navy in its annual unfunded priorities list estimated the cost to service three of its Los Angeles-class submarines awaiting maintenance availabilities at $653 million.