The Navy established an Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery, Maine on Sept. 1 as the service starts infrastructure improvement work in the yard.

The commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic commissioned Capt. Frank Carroll as the new OICC for PNSY, the Navy said Sept. 7.

The Navy said thanks to a Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) directive the commissioning aims to best aid in facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, and military construction projects supporting production activities like maintenance and upgrades to ships, aircraft and shore infrastructure.

The service is working to improve capabilities at the four public shipyards that conduct maintenance work on nuclear-powered U.S. Navy vessels via the 20-year Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP).

The Navy said establishing an OICC here “provides robust on-site construction oversight and command-level accountability for resident engineering services, as well as coordination among crucial stakeholders. OICC PNSY will now move swiftly into executing numerous large contracts, applying innovative and efficient processes to improve critical existing drydock complexes as a part of Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP).”

The Navy recently awarded two contracts to improve dry dock capabilities at Portsmouth as part of the SIOP. Last month, the service awarded 381 Constructors a $1.7 billion contract to build a multi-mission dry dock at the Portsmouth yard, funded incrementally (Defense Daily, Aug 17). 

Separately, on Aug. 30 NAVFAC awarded Methuen Construction a $63 million contract to build various improvements at the Portsmouth Dry Dock 2 (Defense Daily, Sept. 7).

In June, CNO Adm. Mike Gilday said the Navy was looking to improve its estimates of public shipyard drydock improvement project costs after the first project at Portsmouth came in over cost estimates. The PNSY is the first of the four to receive new construction work on a new multi-mission dry dock.

Gilday said beyond cost growths for raw materials, tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, the complexity of the work was underestimated. He said the Navy is now talking to industry earlier in the process to get a better sense of how to more efficiently have the work done (Defense Daily, June 23).

“NAVFAC is provided the authority and technical expertise to deliver these projects in support of fleet readiness and increased lethality,” Rear Adm. Lore Aguayo, commander, NAVFAC Atlantic and Fleet Civil Engineer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said in a statement about the new OICC for the shipyard work.

“It is not just a lot of concrete and a hole in the water. What we are doing is in direct support of near-peer conflicts with China and the Russians. What we do today will have profound impacts on that outcome. Our nation needs us to win here so we can be ready,” Carroll said in a statement.