Development of Program for Computer-Aided Structural Detailing of Ships

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-07-19.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

Development Of Program For
Structural Detailing Of Ships

Department of the Navy


                         JULY 1!3,197'_
                        COMPTROIJER     GENERAL      OF      THE       UNITED     STATES
                                      WASHINGTON.     D.C.         20548

 B-171635     g.+&

 Dear Mr.     Ruppe:

         In response      to your letter         dated December 21, 1970, we
) have examined into the Navy's development     w___L &.fs.I~-..of the Co~mEuL,,er I
  Auuctural               Detailing      of Ships (CASDOS) program.          The
  attachmeni?tor-you-F      letter,      which
                                            .-'   was from an anonymous source,
  raised    the following        questions.

        --Was the development      of CASDOS necessary                                     and were the
           Government's  interests    protected  in the                                    development

        --Did the Navy develop   a computer  program that                                       was al-
           ready available on the commercial    market?

        --Will     the Navy's     CASDOS program be a competitor                                     to com-
           mercially    available     computer  programs?

        --Is     the Navy providing               free of charge                       a commodity     or
            service   having salable                value?

        In addition     to a discussion    of these matters       and our
 conclusions,      we have included     some background     information     on
 the CASDOS program to provide          a better  understanding       of the
 Navy's actions      regarding   the program.

          The Navy had, in our opinion,             a valid     requirement       for
 initiating         the development       of CASDOS. The decision            to con-
 tinue      this program appears to have been reasonable                    and in
 the Government's           interest.       Commercial    programs     were not
 available       when the CASDOS development             was begun.        Currently
 available        commercial      programs    would require       extensive     and
 costly       modifications       prior   to their     use by the Navy.

         To the extent      that some portions            of the CASDOS program
 will    be separable     and have commercial             ship applications,           they
 could be competitive          with commercial           programs     if they are
 made available       through      a computer       service     network    or
 Government-sponsored          library.        This appears,        however,    to be
 limited     in nature because CASDOS is being developed                      specifi-
 cally    for the design
                     _. -6: and construction
                                        waur..?&i 7&T of Navy ships.

                                50 TH ANNIVERSARY                    1921-      1971

      The details     of our examination       follow.


        The Navy has been actively     involved   in the application
of computers in ship design and construction           processes since
1948.      The Navy now has more than 165 ship computer programs
in operation      and about 40 more under active     development.      The
programs range from conceptual       design modeling      of ships to
the development      of detail design and working plans for con-
struction.      It is in this latter     phase, the preparation      of de-
tail    design and working plans,    that the Navy's main thrust        to
achieve automation      of the ship design process has occurred.

        The Navy's CASDOS program is expected to enable a com-
puter to (1) accept as input basic contract                plans and speci-
fications,    (2) verify     the design to Navy specifications,             and
 (3) produce the detailed         working plans and fabrication          draw-
ings needed for actual         shipyard    construction.       As by-products,
the CASDOS program is planned to enable the computer to pro-
vide bills    of material,      weight reports,        and control   tapes for
automated steel-plate-cutting            equipment.

      The CASDOS program is the largest   and most ambitious   com-
puter program for ship design sponsored by the Navy.       When
completed,  it will  consist  of more than 200,000 program state-
ments, as contrasted   to other Navy or commercial  ship computer
programs which range in size from 5,000 to 40,000 statements.

       The CASDOS program is one part of an overall        Navy plan
to achieve total    automation    of the ship design and construc-
tion processes.     The objective    of the overall   plan, called
Computer Aided Ship Design and Construction         (CASDAC), is to
develop general-purpose      computer programs like CASDOS for use
in all phases of ship design and construction.

      According    to Navy officials,     CASDAC, through    its auto-
mated function,      will permit a ship designer     to design better
and faster,     to examine more alternatives,     and to produce more
complete and error-free       designs.    This is a long-range    program


expected by the Navy to extend over a 15- to ZO-year time
span and to require total  funding of about $160 million.


        At the time the Navy initiated         development      of CASDOS,
most of the Navy's        ships were being constructed          in Government-
owned shipyards.         Recognizing    a need to improve       its shipbuild-
ing operations,       the Navy turned     to the computer       as a possible
tool for reducing        design time and cost.        Following     the suc-
cessful    production     of engineering    drawings     by computer    in
1962, the Navy awarded a contract           in November 1962 to deter-
mine the feasibility         of using a computer      to design detailed
ship structures.

       On the basis of successful                   results      of the feasibility
contract,      the Navy solicited              proposals       for the development         of
a computerized          ship design and detailing                 program.      Eleven
firms     responded      with proposals.               On the basis       of technical
competence,        Arthur     D.  Little,        Inc.,     Cambridge,      Massachusetts,
was selected         as the development             contractor.         In June 1965 a
contract      at an estimated           price      of $1.8 million         was awarded to
Arthur      D. Little,      Inc.,     to develop         the CASDOS program.           Al-
though a completion            date was not specified                in the contract,
the contract         provided     for delivery           of specified       work within
35 months of the effective                  date of the contract,            or by May

        Significant        progress      was shown in the development     of
CASDOS under this           contract.       For example,    in December 1966 a
ship's     bulkhead      was detailed       by computer   in a completely    com-
puterized       operation.        In 1967 ship bulkhead       plates  were cut
using numerical          control      tapes produced    by CASDOS.

       In 1968 a revision        in Navy ship construction           policy      led
to a reevaluation      of the CASDOS program.             The revised       policy
called   for contracting       for detail     design work of Navy ships
and for the construction           of Navy ships in private           shipyards.
Consequently,     the CASDOS program was no longer               needed by the
Navy for its in-house        use to the extent        originally       intended.
The Navy, however,       elected     to continue    this     program.


       According     to Navy officials,       several    factors    entered     into
the decision      to continue     the CASDOS development.            First,    early
test results      were excellent      and showed the use of the CASDOS
program to be superior         to manual methods.          Cost savings       of up
to $2.6 million        for a large     ship were predicted       in addition        to
a reduction      of about 10 months in the lead time necessary                  for
ship construction.         Further,      the Navy had a sizable         investment
in CASDOS and one of the most important               portions     of the pro-
gram--the     mathematical     description     of the ship form--was           near-
ing completion.

      An even more important       consideration      was that there was
no similar     ongoing development     effort    in the United     States,
and it was foreseen      that private     shipyards     could use CASDOS
for the construction       of ships built      to Navy design    criteria
and specifications.        The Navy anticipated       that it would achieve
the cost savings      and design time reductions         whether   CASDOS was
used by the Navy or by a contractor.

        As a result      of the Navy's decision       to continue       CASDOS, a
follow-on    contract       was awarded to Arthur       D. Little,      Inc.,    in
August 1968.        This contract,     estimated     at $1.2 million,         pro-
vided for funding         the development     program through        June 1971.
The contract      called     for the continuation       of the original        de-
velopment    effort      and expansion    into additional        ship design
areas to attain        the capability     to completely      detail     the de-
sign of an entire         ship.

       Progress     has also been demonstrated           under the follow-on
contract.      Since 1968 most major portions             of the CASDOS pro-
gram have been completed.              According    to the project       engineer,
the completed       portions      of the program were to be tested            and
ready for operational           use by June 1971.        Several    portions     of
the program already           have been used to perform         some of the ac-
tual detailing         work for two new Navy ships.           Reports     received
by the Navy from private            shipyards    engaged in naval construc-
tion indicate        that the program,        to the extent      it was available,
performed     satisfactorily.


         According   to the CASDOS project      engineer,    the develop-
ment program will       be completed    by June 1972.      A Navy official
stated     that about $100,000 of additional         funds would be re-
quired     to complete    the development     and that,   upon completion
of this work, no further        effort    in the form of follow-on        con-
tractor      support  would be required     from the development      con-


       In our opinion,  the Navy had a valid requirement     for en-
tering   into the CASDOS development.   In addition,     the selec-
tion of the development    contractor was made in accordance       with
approved    procedures.

       On the basis       of the anticipated       cost savings     and reduc-
tion in lead time         from the potential       use of CASDOS by private
shipyards    for Navy       ships and on other stated       rationale,     the
Navy's    1968 decision        to continue   the CASDOS development        appears
reasonable     and in     the Government's      interest.


Commercial     developments

        According      to Navy records     and information       furnished        by
Navy officials,          there was no similar       development      effort     in
the United       States when the CASDOS development             was begun.         There
were, however,         three   programs   under   development      in   foreign
countries.        These were the AUTOKON program which was being de-
veloped     in Norway and the VIKING and STEERBEAR programs                     which
were being developed           in Sweden.      Of these,    only AUTOKON is now
available      for sale commercially         in the United      States.

        The AUTOKON program has been available              since 1966.        The
program,    as developed,     was designed        to produce paper tapes
used to control      automated    steel-plate-cutting          equipment      with
input data being derived        from previously         prepared     detailed
structural    drawings.      The program was later          modified     to


provide      additional        capabilities.        According     to a report       on the
Scandanavian         Maritime      Community dated February           1971 and pre-
pared by the Maritime             Administration,         U.S. Department       of Com-
merce, AUTOKON currently                 is capable     of performing      several     ship
detailing       functions.         The report      states    also that "the produc-
tion system AUTOKON" may be linked                    to a Norwegian-developed            ship
design program called              PRELIKON.       PRELIKON, at the present            time,
consists      of basic ship design packages for three types of com-
mercial      ships--tankers,          bulk carriers,       and alternative         use
ore/bulk/oil         carriers.

        In addition     to the foreign       developments,       several      computer-
aided ship design and construction               programs     have recently
been developed        by shipyards      in the United      States.       The Avondale
Shipyards,      Inc.,   New Orleans,      Louisiana,     developed       a program
called    CALIKON which is comparable            to the AUTOKON program in
its use and capabilities.             The Sun Shipbuilding           and Drydock
Company, Chester,         Pennsylvania,      has a license       to convert      the
Swedish STEERBEAR program for the company's                   future     use.    The
Newport News Shipbuilding            $ Dry Dock Company, Newport News,
Virginia,     is experimenting        with a ship computer           program called
TRIDENT.      According     to a company official,          TRIDENT will        be
comparable      to AUTOKON or CALIKON.

       Other shipyards         have developed     smaller  programs,             but we
could find no other           developments    of, the magnitude    of          those
mentioned    above.

Differences      between      CASDOS and
commercial      programs

       The CASDOS program and the commercial                   programs      were de-
veloped   for different        purposes.      When the CASDOS development
began, the Navy was interested             in using a computer             to reduce
time and cost in the structural              detailing        portion     of an over-
all ship design and production             program.         Input     to CASDOS was
to be design       information      and primary       output     was to be de-
tailed   structural       drawings    prepared      in accordance         with Navy
ship specifications.           Although    the Navy contract            for CASDOS
did provide      for developing       tapes to control           automatic


equipment,    this    feature     was considered    to be a by-product      of
the development       effort    rather    than one of its primary     objec-
tives.     When the CASDOS program was begun, it was intended                to
be used in-house        by the Navy, which did not have any auto-
mated steel-plate-cutting            equipment.   Therefore    CASDOS was
originated    primarily       as a design detailing      tool,  as con-
trasted    to a production        tool.

       According     to Navy records        and other sources         of informa-
tion,    commercial     programs    available      when the CASDOS develop-
ment was started        were oriented       toward production         and were de-
veloped     to automate     the production       of tapes used to control
production     operations.       Although      subsequent      improvements     have
moved at least       one commercial       program     (AUTOKON-PRELIKON com-
bined)    toward the design phase, this             capability      did not ex-
ist in 1966.        At that time commercial          programs      were more in
the nature     of production      tools.

       The CASDOS program and commercial                 programs were designed
for significantly        different         types of ships.       CASDOS was de-
veloped    specifically       for the structural          design   of Navy ships,
with Navy ship design           specifications       being an integral      part
of the program.         Generally       Navy specifications        are more strin-
gent than commercial           specifications      and consequently       construc-
tion to Navy specifications                is more costly.

        Further,      CASDOS was developed           to be capable        of producing
structural       design drawings         for combat ships ranging            from small
destroyers       through     aircraft      carriers.       Structurally      these
ships differ        from commercial         vessels,     the major difference
being that Navy vessels               are longitudinally         framed and have
main supports         running     the length       of the ship;       whereas commer-
cial    vessels     are transversely          framed and have supports           running
across the ship.

        According    to the Maritime     Administration        report,   the two
foreign     programs     (AUTOKON and PRELIKON),        when linked    together,
would perform       detail   design and production        functions    and, so
far as we could ascertain,          would constitute        the only currently
available      commercial    program that approximates           CASDOS. The



report    indicates,       however,   that some aspects of the AUTOKON
program are still          under development.         Moreover,    the report
indicates      that the combined AUTOKON-PRELIKON program could
be used only for detailed            structural     design of three specific
types of commercial           ships.    Consequently,      according   to a Navy
official,      the AUTOKON-PRELIKON program would not be capable
of the structural          design of ships to Navy specifications             with-
out extensive        modifications.


          In view of the differing     requirements that CASDOS and
commercial         computer programs were developed   to meet, we be-
lieve       that none of the commercial programs that then existed,
or were under development          when CASDOS was begun, could have
fulfilled        the Navy's needs.

        Although      a commercial program is now being modified              to
provide      some of the same capabilities         as those of CASDOS,
these capabilities           did not exist when CASDOS development            was
begun.       Further,     our review indicated     that this modified         com-
mercial      program would not be usable for the design of Navy
ships without         extensive     modifications  to provide     for differ-
ences in specifications             and methods of framing      and construc-
tion.      It is possible        that extensive   modifications      to computer
programs such as these would cost aS much as the development
of completely         new programs.


       As discussed      above, the CASDOS program was specifically
developed    for the design and construction          of Navy ships.      Con-
sequently,     without     extensive   modification,   CASDOS would not
be suitable     for the design and construction         of commercial
ships.     Moreover,     the CASDOS program was developed       primarily
as a ship design aid whereas commercially             available  programs
were developed       primarily     as ship production   aids.


        Although     the CASDOS program in its entirety               could not be
used for the production             of commercial     ships,    some parts of
the program,        such as the subroutines         involved     in the prepara-
tion of control         tapes for automatic       plate cutting         machines,
presumably       could be used.         In one instance,      a commercial       ship-
builder      (Seatrain     Shipbuilding     Corporation,      New York, N.Y.)
did attempt       to use the CASDOS control           tape preparation        sub-
routine.       According     to Navy officials,         this trial      was incon-
clusive     because the subroutine          was not sufficiently          developed
at that time to be adaptable              to commercial      shipbuilding       opera-

      Earlier,  this CASDOS subroutine      had been successfully
used in the construction      of a Navy vessel at the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard,    Bremerton,   Washington.


        In our opinion,   CASDQS is not now competitive        with com-
puter programs available       on the commercial    market.     Some por-
tions of CASDOS, however, can apparently          be separated     from the
rest of the program and may have commercial          ship application.
To the extent     that these conditions    exist,   some of the sub-
routines    could be competitive     with commercial    programs.


       Computer programs developed         for Department         of Defense
components or activities        represent     a valuable       resource.      Prior
to 1969, Department        of Defense policy     regarding        the release
of these programs to non-Government            entities       was based on serv-
ing the public     interest.      In response to an Air Force inquiry,
however,    the Assistant     Secretary    of Defense (Comptroller),             in
a memorandum dated April        1969, cited an Attorney             General's
ruling   that computer programs were to be considered                   as prop-
erty and were to be subject          to user charges.          But he also
stated that this should not discourage               or prevent      the release
of computer programs to non-Government               entities     when in the
public   interest.      In October 1969, in order to develop specific


policy,    the Assistant      Secretary     of Defense requested         the ac-
cumulation     of information      regarding      non-Government      requests.
Since 1969, however, no further             action has been taken by the
Office    of the Secretary      of Defense to publish         specific      policy

       The Navy, to a considerable          extent,    has established          its
own policy   concerning     the distribution         of Navy computer         pro-
grams.    A Navy instruction      concerning        such distribution         states

      'I*** Their value to a potential   user is primarily
      economic;    if he is given one of these programs to
      use, he thereby    foregoes paying the development   cost
      himself.   ***'l

      Thus the Navy has recognized               that its computer programs
have value.      However,      the Navy's      instructions     for distribut-
ing the programs do not contain              provisions     for selling     or rent-
ing them.     Instead,      all distribution         is apparently     authorized
to be made on a no-charge          basis.        We were informed      by the
Deputy Comptroller        of the Navy that Navy computer programs
may be made available          to private     users on a no-charge         basis
in the following       circumstances.

       1. When a Government contract   provides   for             the use of
          a program in fulfillment   of the contract.

       2, When the Government would, under contract,                  incur    the
          cost to develop a similar  program.

       3. When a requested    program can be made available     through
          the Computer Software Management Information        Center
           (see p. 12), in which situation     the Navy may, alter-
          natively,   furnish   the program directly   to the re-

      4. When the requester  is a member of a user group--an
         organized  group of program users with common inter-
         ests-- in which the Navy organization  participates.


When requests are made to Navy organizations     or commands for
Navy computer programs that do not meet one of these criteria,
they are to be submitted  to higher Navy authority    for approval.

        The Navy has encouraged      the use of CASDOS in shipyards
holding    Navy contracts.       In October 1968 the Navy advised 15
ship contractors        of the CASDOS project   and stated that maxi-
mum benefits      to both the Navy and its shipbuilders          appeared
possible    through     its use.   The announcement went on to state
that the CASDOS system was incomplete,          had not been validated
in a shipyard      environment,    and would entail  verification       by
the user.

        To date, three private          shipyards    have used completed
portions      of the CASDOS program.           Two of these shipyards--New-
port News Shipbuilding          6 Dry Dock Company, and Litton               Indus-
tries    Ingalls    Shipyard,     Pascagoula,      Mississippi--were         partic-
ipating     in major Navy ship construction              programs.      The third
shipyard--Seatrain         Shipbuilding      Corporation--specializes             in
the construction        of commercial       vessels,     primarily     oil tank-
ers, and did not have any Navy ship construction                      contracts.

        The complete CASDOS package has not been used by any
shipyard     because portions    are still    under development.     In
each case where the Navy made the incomplete            program avail-
able, it has been, from the Navy's Viewpoint,             a means of ob-
taining    test and evaluation       results  of the operational   use of
CASDOS. Further,       in each case CASDOS was made available
through    the development     contractor    only after   its use was re-
quested by the shipyards.

        The Navy has not incurred          any cost in providing     the in-
complete CASDOS program to shipyards,              and it has received      the
results    of practical      application      of CASDOS in a shipyard      en-
vironment.      In addition,       the Navy received     the benefit     of an
important    program modification,          the cost of which--about
$lO,OOO--was borne by the using shipyard.                This modification
was necessary      for the future        use of the complete CASDOS pro-
gram by private       shipyards      having Navy contracts.


      The Department       of Defense has not developed           a policy    for
making computer programs available             through a Government-
sponsored library      called      Computer Software Management Infor-
mation Center; however,          the Navy plans to put parts of the
CASDOS program in that library.              The Center,     which is operated
by the University      of Georgia under contract           with the National
Aeronautics     and Space Administration,          was established       as a
means to make available          to the public,      at nominal cost, the
vast library     of unclassified        Government-developed       computer
programs.     It currently      has more than 900 computer programs
in its library,     including       about 30 Navy programs.

          The Center charges a nominal fee (usually      about $300)
for each computer program that it distributes.            The fee pro-
ceeds are used to defray administrative          and processing     costs.
According      to a National     Aeronautics and Space Administration
official,      no part of the fee proceeds is turned over to
program-contributing         Government agencies for application      to-
ward the development         costs of the programs.

       A Navy memorandum issued in December 1970 provided             for
the no-charge      release    of computer programs to private      enti-
ties that are members of user groups in which a Navy organi-
zation participates.           In view of the Navy's participation        in
the Ship Industry        Advisory    Council,  the Navy considers   that
organization     to be a user group for'Navy        ship computer pro-
grams.      Thus under Navy policy,        members of the Ship Industry
Advisory     Council are entitled       to receive  Navy ship computer
programs free of charge.

       The Ship Industry        Advisory   Council was established        by
the Navy about 3 years ago to promote the free exchange of
information,       technical    ideas,   and problem solutions     between
the Navy's private         shipbuilders    and the Navy.     In addition,
the Navy wished to encourage the sharing             of privately      and pub-
licly    developed     computer programs for the design and construc-
tion of naval ships.

      Through the Ship Industry          Advisory    Council,   the CASDOS
program and at least 12 other           Navy-developed      computer programs


for ship design and construction            are planned to be made avail-
able to U.S. shipyards         on a nationwide      computer service      net-
work.      The network tentatively       selected     for this purpose,      called
Cybernet,     is owned by the Control        Data Corporation,      St. Paul,
Minnesota.       According   to Navy officials,         Cybernet was chosen
because it is the network that offered              the best technical       fea-
tures to meet Navy needs.          A contract     to make Navy computer
programs,     including    CASDOS, available      to Ship Industry      Advisory
Council members'through         the Cybernet network is currently            being
negotiated      between the Navy and the Control           Data Corporation.

      According   to the Deputy Comptroller           of the Navy, the
Navy's plans for future     additional     distribution      of CASDOS are
not firm , pending resolution       of certain     policy   questions.


       We believe    that some of the computer programs developed
by the Navy have economic. value.            Navy instructions        recognize
that some of their       programs have economic value although-they
do not provide     for its specific       quantification.         The Office    of
the Secretary     of Defense-has      provided      some directions      which
are to be followed       by the military       services    in making programs
available     to non-Government      organizations;       however, at the
time of our inquiry,        the Office    had not published         specific
formal policy     on this matter.               '

         To the extent that the CASDOS program is made available
through a computer service              network or Government-approved
library,      it may become competitive            with commercially  available
programs.        This will   be limited,         however, because the program
is being developed         specifically        for Navy ships.

       Inasmuch as the Navy obtained     test and evaluation          benefits
through    the use of parts of CASDOS by three private            shipyards,
this use appears to have been in the Government's             interest.
Since the Navy's plans for the future        distribution       of CASDOS
are not firm,    they cannot be conclusively        evaluated    at this


         We trust    that the above information               is responsive        to
  your needs.     We    plan    to make   no    further     distribution        of this
  report   unless    copies     are specifically         requested,      and    then we
  shall   make distribution        only after        your agreement       has     been
  obtained    or public      announcement       has been made by you            concern-
  ing the contents        of this report.

                                             Sincerely     yours,

                                            of    the United        States

‘!,The Honorable   Philip    E. Ruppe
    House of Representatives