[Post by Chuck Krugh, July 14, 2023]

As I talk with you, I use the word “mission” a lot. Mission is a word that can mean different things to different people. I thought it might be good to describe what mission means to me. That way, you’ll understand the context when I use it.

Mission, according to Webster’s Dictionary, has five different high-level definitions when used as a noun, two definitions when used as a verb and two definitions when used as an adjective. I am far from an English major, but based on the number of definitions, it looks like I picked a good word to examine more thoroughly!

Like other companies, Bath Iron Works has a mission statement. Ours reads: Design, build and support the highest-quality surface combatants for the United States. This describes in a straightforward way what our company does and provides us with a focus. If you break it down, “design, build and support” are the core actions we perform at our company. The majority of our ecosystem revolves around the construction of our ships. Most activities feed or support the build process once the initial design is complete. Our Planning Yard and homeport teams provide the support for the ships in the fleet.

Producing a ship that lives up to our Bath-built-is-best-built reputation means we must ensure the highest level of quality is built into the ship. That means that each of our shipbuilders – you – do your job right, according to the planning and engineering, each and every time. The highest-quality surface combatant will result from our efforts!

This is our mission. But is that what I am referring to when I talk about our “mission” with you here and on the deckplates? Well, yes and no. I obviously want to build the best ship possible so that we continue to earn our Bath-built reputation for quality. However, I believe our mission is more intangible than that. For me, it’s more personal. As a veteran, I always find myself thinking about my brothers and sisters who will use this ship to protect our country. They require a ship that is right and ready. It must be able to take a punch without getting knocked out. It cannot collapse under the pressure of battle; it has no choice but to fight on. In the end, it must bring home those who serve on her. Our Sailors’ families waiting at home are counting on us to provide a ship that protects their loved ones.

To me, our mission is the intangible part of what we do – the part that makes “Bath Built Is Best Built” more than a slogan. This intangible mission makes Bath Built Is Best Built come alive. It shows the world that our ships serve our country with distinction and pride. There are intangible elements – elements you feel but can’t touch – that go into making the ship. These can’t be welded, drilled, cut, grinded, wired, painted, insulated or any of the many other things we do to the ship before it leaves.

These intangibles include things like the pride in what you do; the skills that you bring to bear on the tasks that you do; the honor you feel as part of the team that builds an amazing ship to protect our country and families; the dedication you show to your coworkers, team and company; and finally, the care you take in your job and your concern for doing your job right!

We all share a number of reasons why we work at BIW, but one that is most important is that we are here to build the tools for our Navy to protect our country and families. That is the most important purpose for me! The intangibles of our mission drive my performance the most. In fact, perhaps the most significant of those intangibles are the feelings I get from working with you here. It’s amazing to be here, be a part of this team and carry out our mission!

See you on the deckplates!

Safely Execute High-Quality Work

President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

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