US Navy Breaks Ground on Submarine Workforce Training Center

The US Navy has held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new workforce training center to support submarine fleet development in Danville, Virginia.

Once completed, the training center will produce experts for the maturation of new nuclear-powered vessels, including one Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and two Virginia-class cruise missile submarines.

The facility’s construction was announced at a summit during National Manufacturing Month, in which the US government, partner companies, and the International Trade Administration celebrated the importance of local manufacturing innovations.

The hub and associated equipment and infrastructure will be established as part of the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) and Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) programs.

ATDM and AM CoE leverage partnerships with the domestic shipbuilding industrial base to produce a fleet that fulfills the navy’s requirements.

Columbia-class submarine
Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. Photo: US Navy

Sustaining Deterrence

ATDM is a rapid learning initiative offering training and qualifications in advanced manufacturing applications critical to the submarine industrial base.

To date, the four-month program has prepared over 280 skilled tradespeople. With the new facility, ATDM can produce 800 to 1,000 graduates per year.

“The net result of the amount of shipbuilding we’re introducing here is about a fivefold increase from where we were in the 2000s,” US Navy Strategic Submarines Executive Officer Rear Adm. Scott Pappano explained.

“When you look at the size, displacement, and complexity of these next-generation submarines, that’s a really steep increase.”

“ATDM is a confluence of workforce development and technology, and we’ve got to keep getting the word out because the only way we’re going to deliver submarines is with workforce and technology.”

“We have to bring manufacturing back to ramp up the industrial base. That is how we maintain deterrence.”

Providing a ‘Technological Edge’

Meanwhile, AM CoE directly supports the expansion of the submarine industrial base by employing 3D-printing technologies for components needed in shipbuilding and supply chains.

3D printing is considered a “force multiplier” that boosts manufacturing capability by “reducing reliance on sole-source supply points and addressing obsolescence challenges.”

“As we observe National Manufacturing Month in October, I cannot think of a better event for our Navy and our industry partners to showcase how we are working together to advance and improve our nation’s manufacturing workforce,” US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro stated.

“By bringing together partners to work collaboratively on a critical mission, the COE serves as an example of the teamwork that we need to maintain our technological edge by innovating, and is already supporting the growth of the additive manufacturing industry in this region.”

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