Delivered by ASNE President Glenn M. Ashe during the Annual Business Meeting held July 1, 2015
The American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) was organized in 1888 by practicing naval architects, engineers, artisans and mariners as a means to share, for the common good, their individual and hard-earned knowledge of building, repairing and sailing the ships that comprised the nation’s naval and maritime services. This “sharing” was accomplished through regular meetings and the creation of a journal in which they recorded their lessons learned.
In the past, as our nation expanded its maritime presence, it increased its naval capabilities, adopted new technologies, built necessary infrastructure, and grew a sizable and capable government and industry workforce. As the US naval force structure grew, so did ASNE’s membership, the technical content of its journal, and participation in its conferences and symposiums.
Today, the nation’s global maritime and naval presence is provided by a force that, while powerful, comprises fewer ships, fewer men and women in uniform, less infrastructure (government and industry), and a smaller technical workforce. The smaller numbers of ships and fewer uniformed members of the sea services are offset by substantial increases in the capability and “reach” of each individual ship and ship system. While infrastructure has retained its capability, it has been reduced in capacity to match the size of the force.
Sensors, weapon systems, ship designs and propulsion systems are more technically advanced and complex; and some “game changing” technologies are now transitioning from research, engineering and development into first-time Fleet use. Networks of communications systems and computers connect and integrate single systems into “systems of systems”; creating intricate webs of technical and operational interdependence.
Computing power and automation, coupled with sophisticated algorithms, tools and extensive data bases, accomplish design and engineering tasks that formerly required a large number of degreed engineers, trained technicians and practiced artisans. The result is a highly skilled but significantly smaller technical workforce, and a steep re-learning curve as industry and government alike strive to replicate the knowledge, skill and experience of a growing population of retirement-eligible workers into a younger, novice workforce.
At the heart of our maritime and naval forces are Sailors, Guardsmen, Marines and Merchantmen. Above all else, ASNE is dedicated to assuring that those who go to sea are sailing in ships that have been well and fully engineered for their safety and the success of their mission(s).
It is here that ASNE’s original purpose continues to be relevant; to provide the means for scientists, architects, engineers, technicians, artisans and mariners to meet, share, debate and improve upon their knowledge, experience, practices, and processes. We do this so that the men and women serving at sea are supported by a technically well informed workforce that is highly skilled at researching, designing, building, maintaining, repairing, modernizing and retiring our ships, and the supporting systems ashore.
The two years of my presidency have occurred in the midst of challenging financial times, including DoD furloughs, travel and conference restrictions, and a recovering economy. With that in mind, we have thought innovatively in those two years, recognizing that the ability of any organization or institution to continue to serve its purpose depends on how well it adapts to changes in its environment(s). The capstone of my presidency is the deployment of a comprehensive, 5-year strategic plan which examines the expected future environments in which the society will operate and provides the “sailing directions” that will enable the society to continue its legacy of exceptional service to our nation’s maritime and naval Services.
Article III of the “Bylaws of the American Society of Naval Engineers” is the foundation for the strategic plan and states the society exists to:
• advance the knowledge and practice of naval engineering in public and private applications and operations,
• enhance the professionalism and well-being of members, and
• promote naval engineering as a career field.
Building upon this foundation, the 2016-2021 strategic plan prescribes the following five objectives:
• To be the preferred provider of an extensive portfolio of top-rated education, training experience programs and mentorship.
• To be the provider of marquee experiences for the meaningful introduction, exploration, discussion and debate of technologies, disciplines, analyses, processes or methods that are used, or that may have use, in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, repair, modernization, retirement or disposal of maritime and/or naval platforms and systems.
• To be the “society of choice” for all who are engaged or interested in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, repair, modernization, retirement or disposal of maritime and/or naval platforms, their systems, and the supporting systems and infrastructure.
• To invest in those products & services that advance the purpose of the society, make a positive contribution to either its character or its “brand”, and contribute to its fiscal well-being; and to discontinue those which do not.
• To conduct a review of the society’s Bylaws, rules, processes, procedures committees and organizational structures; develop recommendations to enable the most efficient execution of the society’s operations; and execute those recommendations.
To this end, we have already begun making great strides. We have hired a Continuing Education Manager, Ms. Erica Smedley Cox, who in collaboration with the Continuing Education Committee led by CAPT Rich Delpizzo, has maintained our track record of strong live course offerings at Symposia and stand-alone venues while also working to roll out a new online Learning Management System (LMS) which will enable online delivery of courses and certificate programs, technical working groups, etc.
We continue to expand our marquee experiences. Of particular note, ASNE has successfully increased the number of our symposia receiving DoD approval. The fiscal year kicked off with September’s Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium in Virginia Beach. This 1,300 person event occupied a sizable portion of the Virginia Beach convention center with 140+ exhibitors in addition to a rigorous technical program and a tour of the USS Kearsarge and numerous associated events.
FMMS was followed by the November Launch and Recovery Symposium at MITAGS which highlighted our growth in offerings related to autonomous systems, including a new continuing education course providing an introduction to autonomous systems. In addition to an emphasis on autonomy, in-service, programmatic, and classing needs were at the forefront of panels and presentations.
The December Combat Systems Symposium, led by ASNE’s Flagship Section, was such a success that it is being transitioned to an annual event. The symposium, focused upon “Innovative Thinking for Challenging Times,” and was made possible through strong partnership with PEO Integrated Warfare Systems.
In February ASNE had the tremendous honor of supporting the Office of Naval Research with the 2015 Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo which brought well over 3,000 people to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in “pitch a principal” sessions, and get eyes on an electromagnetic railgun, autonomous surface vessel, and a fire fighting robot amongst other highlights.
Shortly after the ONR S&T Symposium was ASNE Day 2015. Persevering through a late season snowstorm, ASNE Day 2015 saw over 1000 attendees gather to discuss cybersecurity, unmanned systems, combat systems, flexible ships, future Navy programs, affordability, women in naval engineering... The Global Shipbuilding Executive Summit was again held in conjunction with ASNE Day allowing for cross pollination of ideas between participants at both events. Additionally, a delegation from the Society of Naval Architects of Korea hosted a plenary session. Student and STEM centric events were woven through all three days including a student tour of the USCG Yard and a student technical poster competition.
The Intelligent Ships symposium, hosted by the Delaware Valley section, reinforced the importance of discussion and study related to autonomous vessels and cybersecurity through expert panels, strong technical paper sessions, while also tying into the need for K-12 STEM education and outreach with a SeaPerch demonstration. ISS attracted nearly 550 attendees and showed that our symposium attendance has not only stabilized, but is returning to a growth trajectory.
And, as has been our habit these last couple years, ASNE’s fiscal year began and ended in Hampton Roads, in large part thanks to our outstanding Tidewater Section. MegaRust returned to the East Coast for 2015 with nearly 500 participants, over 30 technical papers, 65 exhibitors, and hands-on opportunities to test equipment and coatings.
The breadth and depth of speakers at our symposia is noteworthy; this past year, the following individuals are just a sampling of the fantastic slate who have addressed symposium attendees, in many cases more than once: RDML John Ailes, Dr. Danette Allen (NASA Langley’s Chief Technologist for Autonomy), RDML Brian Antonio, VADM David Architzel, RDML Bruce Baffer, Dr. Bob Ballard (explorer), Mr. Carl Bannar (VP Lockheed Martin), RADM Richard Berkey, CAPT Todd Boehm, Mr. Bill Bray (SES), Dr. Robert Brizzolara (ONR), RADM Jeff Brooks, Mr. Sean Burke (NAVAIR PEO(U&W) PMA-262), RDML Joe Carnevale (Ret.), RADM Nevin Carr, Mr. Chris Cleary (Chief, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, SFLC, USCG), CAPT Greg Cozad, RDML Lawrence Creevy, VADM Philip Cullom, RADM Mark Darrah, Ms. Karen Davis, Mr. Frank Debord (USCG SFLC), CAPT Jeff Dodge, CAPT Jim Downey, CAPT Tom Druggan, VADM David Dunaway, CAPT Beau Duarte, Mr. Robert Ernst (NAVAIR), the Honorable Dr. Patricia Falcone, Mr. Carey Filling, RDML Bryant Fuller, RADM David Gale, RDML William Galinis, ADM Jonathan Greenert, RADM Kate Gregory, CAPT Tom Halvorson, CAPT Gregory Harris, RDML Michael Haycock, CAPT Rick Hepburn, RADM Brad Hicks (Ret.), RDML Jon Hill, VADM William Hilarides, CAPT David Honabach, Mr. Mark Honecker (SES), ADM Michelle Howard, RADM Mark Hugel, Maj. Gen. Albert Husniaux, Mr. Tom Irvine (AIAA), Mr. John James Jr. (Executive Director of Missile Defense Agency), RADM Dave Johnson, Mr. Troy Johnson (N2N6), the Honorable Frank Kendall, RDML James Kilby, Dr. Thomas Killion, Mr. John Kinzer (ONR 351), RADM Matthew Klunder, Mr. Nat Kobitz, RADM Tony Lengerich, Mr. Will Lennon, CAPT George Lesher, RADM Dave Lewis, Mr. Scott Littlefield (DARPA), the Honorable Katrina McFarland, the Honorable Dennis McGinn, RDML Jim McManamon (Ret.), RADM George Meinig (Ret.), Col. Eldon Metzger, Dr. Judah Milgram (ONR), Mr. Don Mitchell (JHU/APL), CAPT Casey Moton, Mr. Tom Noble, RADM Clarke Orzalli, Gen John Paxton, Mr. Kevin Peppe (VP Raytheon), Dr. Bill Phillips (Nobel Prize winner), Dr. Michael Pollock (ONR), RADM Ron Rabago, CAPT Michael Rorstad, VADM Thomas Rowden, Mr. Kyle Royster (ManTech), Ms. Anne Sandel (SES), Mr. Greg Sanford (Deputy, INSURV), CAPT Douglas Schofield, Dr. Lawrence Schuette, Mr. Matt Sermon (PMS 326), RADM James Shannon, Mr. Mark Sirangelo (Sierra Nevada), RDML Michael Smith, Mr. James Smerchansky (MARCORSYSCOM), the Honorable Sean Stackley, CAPT Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Mr. Glen Sturtevant, VADM Paul Sullivan (Ret.), VADM James Syring, Mr. Roy Thomas (ABS), RDML Joseph Vojvodich, Mr. Steve Weber (PEO IWS 1.0), CAPT Rick White, Ms. Robin White (SES), RADM Mathias Winter, RDML Johnny Wolfe, CAPT Richard Wortman, and CAPT Michael Ziv.
Additionally, ASNE’s President’s Club, under a committee chaired by Kaylene Green, hosted two remarkable events this year. In the fall, RADM Millard Firebaugh (Ret.) led a panel discussion entitled “Funding the OHIO Replacement Program (Without Cutting Other Shipbuilding Programs)”. Panelists included the Honorable Allison Stiller, DASN Ships, Mr. Creighton Greene, Senate Armed Services Committee Professional Staff, Ms. Kate Kaufer, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Professional Staff and Mr. Ron O’Rourke, Naval Analyst, Congressional Research Service. In the Spring, the President’s Club, co-hosted by the National Ship Repair Industry Conference, held its annual “Visit to the Hill,” with guest speaker Rep. Randy Forbes, Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and a surprise visit from Rep. Robert Wittman.
Furthermore, we are dedicated to ensuring that ASNE is a “Society of Choice” for members of all ages. While we experienced a decline in our number of members over the last few years when travel restrictions and sequestration loomed, our membership numbers have stabilized at our current force of around 3,000, and we are optimistic that the bustling symposia of the past year are a positive indicator for membership growth in the year to come. If every member recruited one young professional, brought them to a symposium, introduced them to the outstanding network one develops at ASNE section events, and encouraged them to join the society, our budget deficit would vanish and, more importantly, we would have a vibrant youthful workforce being mentored toward assuming leadership for naval vessel design, engineering, and construction for decades to come.
You might have noticed more emails over this last year as we seek to keep you informed of the many opportunities discussed previously. From small changes like streamlining our student section creation procedure and developing our social media presence, to major initiatives to update our “branding,” ASNE is moving forward into its next 125 years open to ideas and initiatives to recruit and retain the next generation of naval engineers, while providing career long benefit to engineers of all ages.
Consistent with the fourth objective of the strategic plan, ASNE Headquarters is undergoing a major IT effort. These upgrades will serve to modernize our IT infrastructure and, as I discussed earlier, will enable direct ties between our membership management systems and our learning management system. With the upgrades complete, our members will have a seamless online user experience to register for in-person and online continuing education courses and be able to track one’s progress within our continuing education structure, all while maintaining digital access to existing resources such as symposium registration and proceedings, Naval Engineers Journal, our membership database, etc…
Lastly, the strategic plan prescribes careful analysis toward efficiency of operations. Recent hires at ASNE Headquarters have been tactical in nature in order to maximize value for our members while maintaining a small, efficient staff size. We are in challenging fiscal times so we strive to be effective stewards of the funds our members chose to provide in dues and donations. This streamlining of operations has us focusing on our core mission, to advance the knowledge and practice of naval engineering in public and private applications and operations, to enhance the professionalism and well-being of members, and to promote naval engineering as a career field.
As many of you know, CAPT Dennis Kruse, our Executive Director of the past 20 years, is retiring. Dennis is a true professional and has served flawlessly and sacrificially. But most of all, Dennis is a true friend. I have enjoyed tremendously working with him and look forward to a continuing relationship of many more years. Please join me in extending to Dennis congratulations and wishes for a great retirement. Dennis has graciously been mentoring the incoming Executive Director, Dr. Leigh McCue, to assure as smooth a transition as possible. Leigh brings a decade of experience as a faculty member at Virginia Tech to this position and a passion for our growing continuing education mission.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not note that our sections, our volunteer leaders, and our members continue to make us exceedingly proud. As just a couple examples, ASNE VP Mike D’Amoto received Old Dominion University’s Outstanding Alumni and Friends Service Award for his community leadership. NSWC Crane STEM Director Tina Closser, a leader with ASNE’s Southern Indiana Section won Tech Educator of the Year at TechPoint’s Mira Awards.
ASNE’s success hinges on the success of its members. We are working steadily to expand our offerings in continuing education, symposia, networking, mentoring, so that we serve as the society of choice for those working on naval combatants for the duration of their careers. Whether you receive free registration for symposia or not, be a member, recruit a member, and share your talents by volunteering at a school or engaging with a committee. If you are not sure how to get involved, reach out to the staff at headquarters who will gladly connect you to local section leaders, committee opportunities, and other volunteer endeavors.
My remarks this year have been largely guided by our 2016-2021 strategic plan, developed by a committee led by RADM Anthony Lengerich. It is with great pleasure that I pass the baton to Tony as the incoming president of ASNE. It is a fortunate position for the Society to have the primary author of the document guiding the organization’s immediate and long term future serving at the helm, and while the challenges that lay ahead are significant, I can think of no one better to lead us through them. Thank you for your support over the past two years and I look forward to working with Tony in the two years to come.