US Navy warships are capital-intensive national defense assets that require periodic depot and intermediate level maintenance availabilities (periods). Oftentimes, ship maintenance is deferred or forgone altogether due to geopolitical strife or fiscal challenges. The impacts of missed maintenance are not only a burden on ships’ crews, but they also have a deleterious effect on current and future readiness. It is a difficult task to strike a balance between current and future readiness when insufficient resources are available to sustain a fleet of warships. This paper draws from multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) to develop a ship maintenance decision-making model that considers attributes from the current and life cycle readiness cohorts. Using the current maintenance plans for two DDG 51-class ships entering availabilities in same fiscal year, this model determines which ship is more capable of absorbing a loss of maintenance and planned modernizations relative to the context of the decision environment. Five attributes are considered for the overall decision: mandatory maintenance, non-mandatory maintenance, mission impact from maintenance, mission impact from planned modernizations, and maintenance backlog. The model presented here is generalizable to a number of U.S. Navy ships and watercraft and can be used to inform decision-makers of the short- and long-term impacts of deferring critical maintenance.
Williams, C.M. and Hester, P.T. (2017), "A Readiness Decision Model for Canceling Navy Ship Maintenance Availabilities", Applications of Management Science (Applications of Management Science, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 147-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0276-897620170000018008
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