Rickover’s Legacy: Secrets of the Nuclear Navy’s Success

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Rickover’s Legacy: Secrets of the Nuclear Navy’s Success

  1. 1. Rickover’s Legacy: Secrets of the Nuclear Navy’s Success Ken Reed Senior Associate System Improvements Why is Rickover’s methodology so Important? Consequences of errors can be SEVERE 1
  2. 2. About me • 21 years Nuclear Submarine Experience – Retired Master Chief Electronics Technician – Served on: • Ballistic Missile Boat • Fast Attacks • Nuclear Research sub – Last boat – USS SEAWOLF (SSN-21) What did I do? • Operation and maintenance of Reactor Control Electronics • Reactor operator and propulsion plant supervisor • Squadron Reactor Operator – In charge of training and maintenance oversight on 6 boats in the squadron • Last ship – USS SEAWOLF 2
  3. 3. On board SEAWOLF: • Senior Enlisted nuke • In charge of training and maintenance planning for 4 engineering divisions • Ran training and drill program • Earned highest possible grade (Excellent) on 2 successive Operational Reactor Safeguards Examinations A Little Nuclear History • Dec 2, 1942 - 1st “nuclear reactor” reactor” operated by Enrico Fermi at University of Chicago • 1947 – Rickover trained in Nuclear Engineering • 1954 - USS NAUTILUS launched 3
  4. 4. From this: …to this In 12 Years!! 4
  5. 5. And since then: • As of 2004: – 103 reactors – 82 ships – 5600 reactor-years of operation • 2900 civilian reactor-years – May be as many as 20 reactors in a single port – No major accidents or releases How has this been accomplished? • Integrity • Training • Discipline • Root Cause Analysis • Inspections 5
  6. 6. Military vs Business • I’ve heard it said that you can’t run a can’ business like the military • I believe that there is a lot that can be learned in both directions • See what you may be able to apply to the business model • Substitute “company” for “command” company” command” “Good” ships • Obviously, differences ship to ship • As an inspector, I saw “good” ships and good” “bad” ships bad” • I will highlight the differences • NOTE: Even the “bad” ships are held to bad” minimum high standards 6
  7. 7. Nuclear Navy Bell Curve Performance Excellent Excellent Above Average Above Average Average Average Below Average Below Average Significantly BA Significantly BA Unacceptable Unacceptable Does not exist Integrity • Emphasized continuously • No second chances • Mistakes happen, but lack of integrity is a conscious act • You can include “responsibility” here also responsibility” • Adm Rickover: “Half-truths are like half a brick - they can be thrown farther” farther” 7
  8. 8. Integrity • Adm Rickover: – “Unless you can point the finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you never had anyone really responsible.” responsible.” – Doesn’t sound very TapRooT-ish, does it? Doesn’ TapRooT-ish, • Or Does It? Integrity • Remember, TapRooT® never says that you shouldn’t hold someone responsible shouldn’ for a problem. • It just isn’t always the operator who is isn’ responsible. 8
  9. 9. Training • Seems like this is the first thing cut in your budget • Rarely does this end up being a good decision • Training turns out to be the #2 priority, following only mission accomplishment – Even here, “mission accomplishment” usually accomplishment” includes required training value Typical Weekly Schedule (at sea) “We don’t have time for training!” 9
  10. 10. Notes on Training • Average of 5 hours / man / week – Classroom only – Drills, OJT, qualification, study, etc counted separately • If training overridden, RESCHEDULED • EVERYONE went to training • On watch 6, “off” 12 off” “Creeping Nuke-ism” • Forward departments started doing same regimen – Didn’t like it Didn’ • Nukes run forward and aft drill programs 10
  11. 11. To Investigate, or not to investigate… • Issues always arise • Some are minor, some not so minor • You must decide at what level an investigation is required Questions to ask: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Critique Integrity Greenand Book Required? Training Entry take care How serious was the problem? of these Who knows about it? Who could find out about it? Who else needs to know about it? What are the consequences of not investigating? Do I understand the problem, or is it pretty complex? Do I have all the information I need? How much time is available for recovery? 11
  12. 12. Is a Critique Required? • Separates “good” boats from “not so good” good” boats good” • Naval Reactors has rules for when problem is an Incident – Rules not so clear on “critique” critique” – Up to discretion of Commanding Officer – This separates the men from the boys The Dreaded Critique • Always bad – Outcomes: • Disqualification • Oral reprimand • Upgrade program • Loss of pay / rank? • Training • New procedure / procedure change • Rickover-inspired 12
  13. 13. The New Navy • Perception has changed – No longer look bad at higher levels – Less likely to be blame-oriented – NR guidelines issued (based on “good” boats) good” – Commands more likely to conduct critiques – Critique smaller issues – “Fact-finding” Fact-finding” The Critique Sequence • • • • • • • • • • Involved parties assembled CO / XO / COB / EDMC / ENG convene Timeline quickly developed (interviews) Procedures referenced Further statements taken Involved parties excused Agree on root causes, STCA, LTCA Involved parties informed Tracking Incident report or Near Miss submitted if required 13
  14. 14. Why does this work? • Integrity re-enforced – Fair punishment can be expected for mistakes, but there is no tolerance for a lapse of integrity. • Military discipline can be easily enforced, so punishments • • • • • • • can be quickly meted out. No one goes home when you are underway. For the same reason, training can be quickly held. There is a huge amount of outside oversight The CO has ultimate authority There is a large body of experience to draw upon when determining the root causes and corrective actions. A warship must be able to fulfill its assigned mission The CO is informed of almost all problems, keeping him abreast of the status of all his equipment Disadvantages: • Personnel are usually all interviewed together • Interview held with the supervisor present • Due to limited manpower and time, critique only • • the “big” stuff big” The CO can quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer number of issues The same people normally decide on the root causes and the corrective actions for every incident 14
  15. 15. Inspections • Nuclear Propulsion Examination Board – Conduct Operational Reactor Safeguards Exams – Previous Engineers, CO’s CO’ – Every 12-16 months – Most announced (scheduled 6-9 months out) • Several per year only 3 days notice – Answer directly to NAVSEA 08 ORSE Work-up • Good boats need only moderate preparations • All need time in schedule dedicated to drills • Squadron personnel assist in w/u, reviews w/u, • “Good boats”: integrated into daily ship’s boats” ship’ schedule 15
  16. 16. Integration • Audits by all levels of command • Drills whenever there is an opening – Maybe only walk-throughs allowed walk-throughs – “Minor” drills any time Minor” • Training never to “check the box” box” • Test, test, test • Internal audits of everything The ORSE Inspection • 2 Days – Day 1 • Records Reviews • Written Exams • Monitored Evolutions • Material Inspection – Day 2 • Drills • Observe a training session • Oral interviews 16
  17. 17. The ORSE Inspection • Inspection now includes an observation of ship control, piloting, navigation, etc • Reactor safety includes things outside the engineroom – Tough for the reactor to be safe if the ship is operated unsafely Consequences can be severe 17
  18. 18. Was this reactor safe??? 18
  19. 19. Nuclear Navy’s Guiding Principles • Integrity from Day 1 • Training is part of daily life • Whole ship must be safe • Procedural compliance – Understand procedure – Question when it doesn’t make sense doesn’ – Get it fixed Nuclear Navy’s Guiding Principles • Rising Standards of Excellence • Facing facts • Learn from experience • Total Responsibility 19
  20. 20. Tagout System • Navy LO/TO system seems much more rigorous • Steps – – – One man researches and writes LO/TO Second man independently verifies boundaries Worker must prove boundaries to supervisor • Use prints • Prints must be correct – Workers prepare system • Secure system, drain, vent – Supervisor authorizes hanging tags Tagout System (cont) Steps: – First worker positions components, hangs tags – Second worker verifies positions, signs tags – Supervisor approves commencement of work 20
  21. 21. Why this works • Rigorously followed • Prints are correct • All components correctly labeled – No deviations from label allowed • Rigorous auditing • Walk-down NOT allowed as only check – In fact, walk-down not even mentioned Conclusions • Rickover’s methods were required at the Rickover’ time instituted – Over the years, minor modifications, but basics have NOT changed • Adoption of his exact methods by civilian businesses may not work in total • However, his principles in general will work anywhere. 21

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