Robert G. Keane, Jr.

AOE Advisory Board

  • M.S.E., Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, University of Michigan
  • M.Eng., Mechanical Engineering (ship hydrodynamics), Stevens Institute of Technology
  • B.E.S., Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Mr. Keane, who is the Principal of Ship Design USA, Inc., has over 43 years of ship design experience, 35 years of which were in technical leadership positions at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). During 21 years as a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service (SES), he served in senior leadership positions as the U.S. Navy’s Chief Naval Architect, Chief of Ship Design, Director of Ship Survivability and Technical Authority for Total Ship System Engineering (TSSE). In his last position at NAVSEA before retiring in 2002, he was the Executive Director for Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering.  In this position, he was responsible for the design of all Navy surface ships and craft from pre-acquisition concept design studies, through the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), Preliminary and Contract Design, Detail Design and Construction, and in-service support. His Navy-led Design Teams successfully completed over 35 major naval ship Contract Designs. He now heads his own consulting firm, Ship Design USA, Inc., supports the U.S. Navy’s Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD), and teaches Best Ship Design Practices and Lessons Learned at the University of Michigan Summer Naval Surface Ship Design Program. 

Brief Job History: 

  • (2004 – Present) President and Senior Principal Engineer, Ship Design USA, Inc. 
  • (2002 – 2004) Principal Advisor for Total Ship Systems Engineering, Advanced Marine Center of Computer Sciences Corporation 
  • (2000 – 2002) Executive Director, Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering Group, Naval Sea Systems Command 
  • (1996 – 2000) Director, Total Ship Systems Directorate, Carderock Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center  
  • (1992 – 1996) Deputy Director, Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering Group, Naval Sea Systems Command  
  • (1985 – 1992) Technical Director, Ship Design Group, Naval Sea Systems Command 
  • (1983 – 1985) Director, Ship Survivability Sub-Group, Naval Sea Systems Command
  • (1981 – 1983) Director, Naval Architecture Sub-Group, Naval Sea Systems Command 
  • (1973 – 1981) Director, Hull Form Design, Stability and Hydrodynamics Division, Naval Ship Engineering Center  
  • (1971 – 1973) Head, Hull Equipment Branch, Naval Ship Engineering Center 
  • (1968 – 1971) Ship Arrangements Specialist, Naval Ship Engineering Center  
  • (1967 - 1968) Surface Ship Dynamics Division, David Taylor Model Basin  
  • (1964 - 1965) Marine Engineer, Ellicott Machine Corp.
  • The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Elmer Hann Award for best paper presented at the Ship Production Symposium in October 2005. 
  • SNAME David W. Taylor Medal for notable achievement in naval architecture and/or marine engineering as "one of the world’s leading experts on the design of naval ships", October 2003. 
  • The Association of Scientists and Engineers (ASE) of the Naval Sea System Command Senior Service Award in recognition of 35 years of distinguished service to ASE, NAVSEA and the Navy, December 2002.
  • Rosenblatt – Michigan Alumni Award in recognition of Outstanding Professional achievements and creative leadership that have done much to advance the seakeeping and survivability qualities of our naval ships, October 2001.
  • Department of the Navy (DON) Distinguished Civilian Service Award by the Secretary of the Navy in recognition of numerous advancements in warship design which are of major impact to the operating capability of our naval forces, 1996 (DON’s highest honorary award).
  • DON Meritorious Civilian Service Award in recognition of leading NAVSEA’s High Grade Review Team, 1996.
  • DON Superior Civilian Service Award in recognition of successfully introducing the novel small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH) T-AGOS 19-22 ships into the fleet, 1994.
  • Elected as Fellow of SNAME, 1994.
  • ASE Silver Medal Award in recognition of continuous outstanding contributions to naval engineering in Ship Design Management, Ship Survivability and Naval Architecture, April 1991 (ASE’s highest award).
  • Senior Executive Service (SES) Special Act Award in recognition of outstanding contributions as the Navy’s corporate manager responsible for totally revitalizing the Navy’s Ship Contract Design Program, NAVSEA, 1989.
  • DON Superior Civilian Service Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the survivability of the Navy’s ships while Director of NAVSEA’s Ship Survivability Sub-Group, 1986.
  • ASE Professional Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding contributions in the application of ship hydrodynamics technology to naval ship design, March 1981.
  • The John C. Niedermair Award for the Outstanding Paper presented at the 14th Annual ASE Technical Symposium, 1977.
  • The District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies Bicentennial Award in recognition of many contributions to the advancement of the science and art of engineering and architecture, February 1976.
  • (1967 – Present) SNAME - Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
  • (2005 – Present) Life Fellow Member
  • (2005 – Present) Chair, Joint SNAME-ASNE Ship Design Committee  
  • (1992 – Present) Member, Council
  • (1990 – 1991) Member, T&R Steering Committee  
  • (1969 – Present) Chairman, Chesapeake Section  ASNE – American Society of Naval Engineers   
  • (2006 – Present) Life Member
  • (2006 – Present) Chair, Joint SNAME-ASNE Ship Design Committee
  • (2006 – Present) Member, ASNE-SNAME T&R Alliance Ad hoc Group
  • (1989 – 1990) Member, Education Committee
  • (1969 – Present) Chairman, Flag Ship Section  ASE – Association of Scientists and Engineers of the Naval Sea Systems Command   
  • (1981 – 1983) Life Member  
  • (1974 – 1975) President,  D.C. Council of Engineering and Architecture Societies, Inc.  

Most Significant Publications:

 “Ready To Design A Naval Ship? Prove It”, accepted for publication in Journal of Ship Production, April 2009, presented at SNAME Ship Production Symposium, 2008 “The LPD-17 Ship Design: Leading A Sea Change Toward Collaborative Product Development”, accepted for publication in Naval Engineers Journal (NEJ), January 2009, presented at 2007 ASNE Annual Meeting  “Toward A Light Weight Design Philosophy for High Speed Sealift Ships”, NEJ, January 2008, presented at the ASNE Seabasing Conference, 2006  “Leading A Sea Change In Naval Ship Design: Toward Collaborative Product Development”, Journal of Ship Production, May 2007, presented at the SNAME Ship Production Symposium, 2005 (received SNAME Hann Award for Best Paper) "Setting The High Speed Ship Technology Roadmap For Naval Power 21: Center for Innovation in Ship Design", Presented at the ASNE Engineering the Total Ship Conference, 2004  “Naval Ship Design: High-Speed Is Back Again”, Invited Paper Presented at the International Marine Design Conference (IMDC), Athens, Greece, 2003  “Acquisition Reform: It All Starts With Design”, NEJ, January 1999  “Re-Engineering The Warship Design Process:  Towards Total Quality Development”, Proceedings of the International Naval Engineering Conference (INEC 96), April 1996   “A Revolution In Warship Design: Navy-Industry Integrated Product Teams (IPT’s)”, SNAME Journal of Ship Production, November 1996, presented at SNAME 1996 Ship Production Symposium.  “Making Design Everybody’s Job:  The Warship Design Process”, NEJ, May 1995, presented at ASNE Day – 1995.  “Producibility In The Naval Ship Design Process:  A Progress Report”, SNAME Journal of Ship Production, November 1993, presented at SNAME Ship Production Symposium – 1992.  “Seakeeping By Design”, NEJ, April 1980, Presented at ASNE Day – 1980.  “Frigate Survivability After a Single Exocet Hit (uncl)”, Confidential Report by NAVSEA’s Survivability Review Group (SRG), NAVSEA Report No. 072-55X-TR-004, 1985, editor.  “Upgrading Mission Capability and Performance Effectiveness of Naval Ships by the Use of Active Fin Stabilizers”, Presented at ASE Annual Symposium, 1977 (received ASE Niedermair Award for Best Paper)

Robert G. Keane, Jr.
Robert G. Keane, Jr.