Title: Modifying the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP)
Author(s): Captain Brent Kyler, USN - COMNAVSURFLANT, Michael W. Harris, GS -COMNAVSURFLANT
The present Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) was established in 2014 in an effort to provide a supply-based force generator that supports optimum operational availability (Ao) over a 36-month FRP cycle. The OFRP is intended to stabilize maintenance schedules and provide sufficient time to maintain and train the force while maximizing employability. However, while the notional model used for the execution concept worked well for a single ship in a single Carrier Strike Group (CSG) for a single FRP cycle, the impact for actual execution of multiple ships supporting multiple CSGs over multiple FRP cycles creates scheduling overloads, overly-active rescheduling, and inability to accurately predict maintenance periods for long range budgeting and modernization planning for surface ships. This churn predominately arises from the direct linkage of a set core of surface ships with a specific carrier and then lock-stepping the maintenance of those surface ships to the carrier. Because the maintenance schedule of today's carriers is unable to provide a stable 36-month FRP, every change in a carrier schedule has a logarithmic impact on surface ship maintenance.
Scheduling churn, related planning difficulties, and workload instabilities can be alleviated if surface ships are not tied to a specific carrier, but function more along the lines of the Carrier Air Wing, which works up independently of a carrier, but shows up in time to commence the Integrated Phase of the FRP with the designated carrier that is working up as the next deploying CSG. If a set core of surface ships could operate in a surface version of the air wing, such as a Surface Action Group (SAG), then those core ships could work up, maintain and train as a functional entity. Then at the appropriate time, the Surface Action Group would join up with the designated carrier for Integrated Phase training just like the Carrier Air Wing.
This paper will explore the construct of the OFRP and the core aspects of how it impacts on surface ship maintenance and modernization. The authors will discuss the pro's and con's of how the concept of a SAG which is not linked to a specific carrier, but still progresses through the phases of the OFRP cycle in order to provide a trained and ready to respond cadre of surface ships on time for Integrated Phase training with the CSG carrier or for operational tasking as required.