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5 Technology Development and Insertion for Sustainment INTRODUCTION This chapter addresses element 3 of the terms of reference (TOR), that is, “De- termine if any modifications in technology efforts are required, and, if so, identify them and make recommendations regarding the technology efforts that should be pursued, because they could make positive impacts on the sustainment of the current and future systems and equipment of the Air Force.” Since its foundation, guided by the prescient words of Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has demanded that technology development be a key element in provid- ing the wherewithal to make the Air Force second to none in the world. Although the specific organizational structures have varied in response to changing times and needs, research and development (R&D) from the most basic, far-reaching scientific research through development, and on to testing and evaluation have been pursued with vigor. Academic research, coupled with that of the Air Force laboratories and matured within Department of Defense (DoD)-funded programs and in industry, has led to the extraordinary array of technical marvels that patrol the air, cyberspace, and space domains in times of peace and war. Throughout the Air Force’s history, the results of much of this research effort have appeared in new systems, with emphases on immediate advancements in performance. Long-term durability was sought 132
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 133 And foR and achieved over time through the application of refined technical understanding and the development and insertion of new materials and processes. New technol- ogy also found its way into the maintenance process through the introduction of refined detection apparatus and enhanced repair protocol. In an environment of rapid replacement of old systems with new ones, this strategy has been sustain- able with modest maintenance costs. In the present and projected future, however, with limited new system procurement anticipated, a new strategy must govern the introduction of new technology and its impacts on sustainment of the warfighters’ requirements to carry out their assigned missions. The combination of an aging fleet of aircraft with new aircraft whose technol- ogy has been primarily utilized to improve the performance of Air Force weapon systems has created a large sustainment cost problem for the Air Force. This problem has been made worse as the size of the Air Forces’ fleet has decreased and some aircraft, although small in overall numbers (e.g., the B-2), require a huge sustainment effort to keep them “mission ready.” Many examples illustrate how the injection of technology into an existing aircraft system has increased reliability and thereby greatly reduced the sustainment burden of the system (e.g., the F-100 engine required maintenance at 6,000 tacs vs. 4,000 tacs). That said, the non-recurring cost of injecting technology into existing aircraft may impede Air Force acceptance even when the life-cycle cost of not introducing that technology is greater. Although some Air Force technology initiatives have focused on reducing the Air Forces’ sustainment burden, in general technology development remains primarily focused on enhanced performance. In addition, programs that historically have been utilized to inject technology into the existing fleet have been weakened or no longer exist. Although much of the new technology investment in the laboratory is origi- nally targeted at new systems, it may find its way into existing systems. Maintenance depots are increasingly the locale for the insertion of this new technology into legacy systems and those under acquisition but in modification sequence. Sustain- ment will also continue to be an integral part of new system development as the Air Force focuses attention on its program of Integrated Life-Cycle Management (ILCM). In this chapter, the implications of ILCM for the technology development and insertion processes will be explored; a broad survey of the array of relevant technologies identified; current technology development and transition processes described and analyzed; and suggestions made for improvement. The breadth of the technical areas and the broad charge outlined in the TOR preclude an in-
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 134 in the depth development of a proposed technical agenda; however, recent studies serve to complement this study with respect to comprehensive technical analyses.1,2,3,4,5 POLICIES AND GUIDANCE The task of characterizing the current state of both the technology and institu- tional and management processes is a daunting one for an institution as complex as the Air Force and its many partners in system development. In addition, the study was conducted in an environment of rapid change in these processes within the DoD and the Air Force in particular. Fortunately, an array of recent related studies has provided background for the committee’s particular focus. In the next section, some of these studies will be briefly reviewed to set the stage for the drill-down to the specifics required by the TOR. The following statements regarding life-cycle affordability and sustainment reflect the current vision and responsibilities within senior Air Force leadership: Science and Technology Program Tenets: Demonstrate advanced technologies that address affordability by promoting efficiencies, enhancing the effectiveness, readiness, and availability of today’s systems, and addressing lifecycle costs of future systems. S&T Program Priorities: Priority 1.2: Improve the agility, mobility, affordability, and survivability of Air Force assets. Priority 2.1: Improve the sustainment, affordability, and availability of legacy systems. 1 Logistics Management Institute (LMI). 2009. Future Capability of DoD Maintenance Depots: Interim Report. LG901M1. December. Mclean, Virginia: LMI. Available at http://armedservices. house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=be97f304-3d15-4e96-bc24-689f8cb6c633. Accessed Febru- ary 20, 2011. 2 LMI. 2011. Future Capability of DoD Maintenance Depots. LG901M2. February. McLean, Virginia: LMI. Available at http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=394b31e6-4adc-47 ca-a6f5-21547f0751fa. Accessed February 20, 2011. 3 Vince Russo. “Greybeard Assessment of the Sustainment Technology Transition Process.” Presenta - tion to the committee, February 7, 2011. 4 National Research Council (NRC). 2011. Research Opportunities in Corrosion Science and Engi - neering. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog. php?record_id=13032. 5 NRC. 2011. Materials Needs and R&D Strategy for Future Military Aerospace Propulsion Sys - tems. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. vailable at http://www.nap.edu/catalog. php?record_id=13144.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 135 And foR Priority 4.1: Be a trusted partner of the acquisition/sustainment community to assess technology maturity and enhance and accelerate technology transition.6 These priorities must be met within the more specific guidelines that define the acquisition process. Likewise, in AFI-63-101, the Air Force establishes defini- tions and assigns roles related to technology implications on ILCM. 7 Critical to the current discussion is section 1.4.5, where technology planning and insertion is defined as: …the timely maturation and incorporation of relevant technology throughout the program life cycle to ensure an operationally effective and suitable system. Technology planning and the assessment of technology readiness levels include consideration of such factors as reliability, producibility, testability, sustainability and operational performance. Successful technology planning and insertion as part of program life cycle management results in higher fidelity time phased requirements with a more realistic schedule and improved cost estimates [emphasis added]. (p. 12)8 Responsibilities for senior leadership in the acquisition chain are clearly articu- lated. It is the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), who is tasked to “execute the AFMC Mission Assignment Process throughout the ILCM life cycle [and] establish management responsibilities and align the AFMC acquisition and sustainment infrastructure in support of approved missions/levels of service to achieve designated AF ILCM enterprise objectives” (section 2.19.8) and “plan and execute the S&T Program” (section 2.19.14). Interestingly, in defining the respon- sibilities for the Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFI-63-101 does not explicitly mention “sustainment,” even though execution of technology development and support of sustainment operations have long been a traditional responsibility of the Air Force science and technology (S&T) laboratories. The Air Force Chief Scientist recently released a 20-year vision document that describes the realm of the possible and dreamed for capabilities that should guide the Air Force’s technology development.9 Embedded in this document are statements that characterize leadership thinking about sustainment: 6 StevenH. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engi - neering. “Air Force Science and Technology Strategy.” Presentation to the Air Force Studies Board, November 16, 2010. 7 USAF. 2011. Air Force Guidance Memorandum to AFI 63-101, Acquisition and Sustainment Life Cycle Management Incorporating Through Change 3. March 22. Available at http://www.af.mil/ shared/media/epubs/AFI63-101.pdf. Accessed April 10, 2011. 8 Ibid. 9 USAF. 2010. Technology Horizons: A Vision for Air Force Science and Technology During 2010- 2030 (Volume I). May 1. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief Scientist of the Air Force.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 136 in the Sustainment is essential to the Air Force mission. As legacy air platforms and other systems continue to be used throughout this period, and as new platforms and systems are intro - duced during this time, technologies to support improved sustainability or to reduce costs associated with sustainment will continue to be essential. (p. 35) Expanding on this statement of intent, the report clarifies the role of the AFRL Commander by defining a list of actions required of the AFRL:10 2.1. Determine Alignment of Current S&T Portfolio with “Technology Horizons” 2.2. Identify Fraction of Portfolio to be Aligned with “Technology Horizons” 3.1. Identify Current Efforts Requiring Realignment or Redirection 3.2. Determine New S&T Efforts That Must Be Started (pp. 112-113) Finding 5-1. The Air Force has recently assigned a higher priority to sustain- ment technology and has stated its intention to move to an ILCM strategy. Properly implemented, such a strategy implies sensitivity to sustainment in all technology development. Finding 5-2. Implementation of ILCM is at various stages of development in organizations within the Air Force, but is not yet institutionalized in the research, development, testing, and engineering (RDT&E) system.11,12 TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSITION As suggested in Finding 5-1, to achieve ILCM, sustainment must be built into technology development at all stages. Although the detailed management issues will markedly vary depending on the specifics of the technology and the intended application (maintenance of legacy systems through to development of envisioned systems), broad underlying management issues govern the process of all technol- ogy development and transition within the DoD in general and the Air Force in particular. These processes have undergone frequent changes over the past decade or so and are in flux within the Air Force as this report is being written. A recent NRC report described these changing processes in great detail while constraining its focus to new systems. The NRC characterized the program it evaluated from 10 USAF. 2010. Technology Horizons: A Vision for Air Force Science and Technology During 2010- 2030 (Volume I). May 1. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief Scientist of the Air Force. 11 Committee Meeting 2, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, December 7-9, 2010. 12 Committee Meeting 4, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Tech Edge Innovation and Col - laboration Center, Dayton, Ohio, February 7- 8, 2011.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 137 And foR March to August 2010 as one in need of serious attention. Several quotes reflect the NRC’s concerns:13 None of the many Air Force presenters to the committee was able to articulate a USAF level, integrated science and technology (S&T) strategy, nor could they identify a single office with authority, resources, and responsibility for all S&T initiatives across the Service. Instead, there appears to be an assortment of technology “sandboxes,” in which various players work to maximize their organizational self-interest, as they perceive it. In such a system, optimization will always take place at the subunit level, with less regard for the health of the overarching organization. (p. 7) Among the most critical resources are robust processes, from the very conception of a program. For both government and industry, well-defined and well-understood work processes in all phases of program management are essential to successful technological development. Repeatedly during the study, evidence was presented that within the Air Force some of these processes have been diluted in significant ways in the past decade and are only now beginning to be reinvigorated. (p. 29) Previous studies suggest that the Air Force needs to do more effective planning in the earliest stages of programs, when ultimate cost, schedule and technical performance are most malleable, and thus most readily influenced. Recently, the Kaminski Report addressed this aspect directly, highlighting the need for systems engineering and the importance of the role that systems engineering plays in the major systems acquisition process.14 It also persuasively made the case for a return to the days of Development Planning, describing how prior to 1990 the Air Force used Development Planning to assess and integrate the various acquisition stakeholder communities, to include especially combat commands, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and acquisition Product Centers. According to the Kaminski Report, the use of Development Planning, coupled with systems engineering, resulted in the delivery of needed capability to the warfighter in a timely and affordable manner. In addi- tion to Development Planning, there exist two other significant tools in the quest for clear, realistic, trade-off tolerant, stable, and universally understood requirements. These tools are the once-effective ATCs [Applied Technology Councils], in which warfighting commands, acquisition and logistics organizations, and laboratories managed the linkages between operational requirements, technology development, and systems acquisition—with the added benefit of the interpersonal relationships that developed, as well as the face-to-face communications which ensued. The third tool is the establishment and disciplined use of measures of technological readiness, so that only when a technology is well-defined and demonstrated does it make the transition from the laboratory world to become part of a major system acquisition program. (p. 44) The NRC’s 2008 report, supported by extensive benchmarking from successful 13 NRC. 2011. Evaluation of U.S. Air Force Preacquisition Technology Development . Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13030. 14 NRC. 2008. Pre-Milestone A and Early-Phase Systems Engineering. Washington, D.C.: The Na - tional Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12065.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 138 in the technology development and transitions then in place in the United States Navy, United States Army, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and several industrial concerns, focused attention on the “three R’s”: requirements, resources, and the right people. It is worth repeating the definitions of these guiding principles because they frame the discussion of the current state of sustainment technology at the close of this chapter: 1. Requirements—clear, realistic, stable, trade-off tolerant, and universally understood; 2. Resources—adequate and stable, and including robust processes, policies, and budgets; and 3. The Right People—skilled, experienced, and in sufficient numbers, with stable leader- ship. (p. 3)15 As dramatic testimony to the fact that the Air Force S&T strategy and imple- mentation are currently in flux, many of the issues raised in the 2011 NRC report had already begun to be addressed by the Air Force at the time of its final publica- tion, and other issues are being addressed by this report. Nonetheless, much re- mains to be done. In 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Science, Technology, and Engineering) outlined many of these changes to strategy, develop- ment planning, and prioritization by a process similar to the Applied Technology Councils (ATCs) and workforce development. These topics will be reviewed later in this chapter with specific focus on their implications to the development and insertion of sustainment technologies.16 Finding 5-3. The Air Force is in the early stages of instituting a focused man- agement approach and of developing plans with requirements, resources, and right people designed to succeed within the ILCM strategy. TECHNOLOGY AREAS RELEVANT TO SUSTAINMENT Defining Sustainment Technology Needs Technology may influence sustainment of the fleet in many ways. These span the range of problem identification and repair of legacy systems to the development of new materials with longer projected lifetimes. Sustainment technology includes those technological advances that, when inserted on an aircraft or aircraft sub- system, produce improvements in the performance life and or maintenance of the 15 NRC. 2011. Evaluation of U.S. Air Force Preacquisition Technology Development. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13030. 16 Steven H. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and En - gineering. “Air Force Science and Technology Strategy.” Presentation to the Air Force Studies Board, November 16, 2010.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 139 And foR aircraft or aircraft sub-system. Sustainment technology may be inserted on aircraft engines, airframe structures, sensors, weapon systems, electronics, hardware, and software. Also included are technologies and advanced processes and practices that include improved forecasting, lean processes and practices, manufacturing, diag- nostic and prognostic tools and procedures, personnel education and training, and integrated databases. Too often, technology development programs characterized as “sustainment” are exclusively those targeted at legacy system vehicles, when in fact important sustainment technology opportunities in support of ILCM, includ- ing long-term research on underpinning science, may be found throughout the lifecycle. Chapter 4 addresses sustainment of software, while this chapter focuses primarily on vehicles and engines. In the vehicle and engine areas alone, there is a broad array of relevant techni- cal applications and finite available resources, and a process for their prioritization are required. Recently compiled statistics, shown in Figure 5-1, from the Air Force FIGURE 5-1 Figure 5-1.eps Total possessed hours for the KC-10 system. AA, aircraft availability; DFT, depot field team; PDM, programmed depot maintenance; MOD, modification; UDLM, unscheduled depot-level maintenance. bitmap SOURCE: Fran Crowley, Director, Air Force Fleet Viability Board. “AF FVB Feedback for the Air Force Studies Board.” Presentation to the committee, December 7, 2010.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 140 in the Fleet Viability Board might be considered as input to such a prioritization process. Issues limiting aircraft availability (AA) in the most recent year studied were clas- sified into the several technical root-cause categories listed. It may be presumed that significant technology fixes might be developed to improve some of the identified issues, but it is clear that no single “fix” will by itself dramatically affect availability of this particular aircraft. Although the S&T com- munity has often been called upon and in many cases has assisted in the develop- ment of such point fixes, the preferred strategy is to develop information about issues that are pervasive across platforms and focus development on technologies likely to impact broadly across the fleet. Accomplishments in one such area, high- cycle fatigue, are described in Box 5-1. In identifying such pervasive technology areas, the S&T community is aided by programs managed within the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC): for example, the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP), the Engine Structural Integrity Program (ENSIP), the Functional Systems Integrity Program (FSIP), and the En- gine Component Improvement Program (CIP). CIP also has a history of assisting transitions of sustainment technology, but in recent years has done little of this because of significant budget cuts. With input from the ALCs, appropriate program offices, industry, and the Air Force and other DoD S&T community, these programs continue to identify technology needs, share accomplishments in regular confer- ences, publish standard practices, and in the best of circumstances influence the identification of priorities for funding by one or more entities. Figure 5-2 depicts one of the key areas addressed by ASIP; the committee was informed that labora- tory work is under way at various levels of intensity in each of the areas indicated in the figure.17 The interaction of the AFRL with these integrity programs is explored further below, but in the present context, it is worth noting that many of these integrity programs have a long history (ASIP was initiated in 1958) and represent a signifi- cant resource for identifying “needs” to be addressed. Translating this list of needs into funded “requirements” is a complex process involving many other players. These several independent improvement programs identify opportunities in their own spheres, but no comprehensive sustainment technology plan currently exists within AFRL. In its 1997 report exploring the elements that would be expected in such a plan, the NRC presented a template that might be used as AFRL reexamines its sustainment portfolio: 1. Develop an overall strategy that addresses the Air Force aging aircraft needs 2. Recommend and prioritize specific technology opportunities in the areas of 17 Pam Kobryn. “Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP).” Presentation to the committee, February 7, 2011.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 141 And foR BOX 5-1 High-Cycle Fatigue (HCF) The solutions to the HCF problem that plagued the Air Force for nearly a decade could not have been possible without the contributions of the Air Force S&T community. The combination of high frequencies (up to 1,000 Hz), millions of cycles, and low amplitudes can result in HCF.1 The presence of manufacturing defects or Foreign Object Damage (FOD) provide sites from which cracks can grow as a result of many millions (or billions) of cycles at stresses well below the yield strength of the material.2 FOD provides the source of initiation of the crack. HCF provides the method of propagation. If not detected in time, the end result is catastrophic failure of the component. Combining HCF conditions with the increasingly higher performance provided by advanced materials and designs exacerbated the phenomenon.1 From 1995 to 2003, HCF was the major contributor to the failure of components in military gas turbine engines.3 Studies of the rates of Air Force mishaps over a period of 15 years showed that more than 50 percent resulted from HCF. Similar data for the United States Navy showed that more than 40 percent of mishaps resulted from HCF. Also during this time HCF began to appear in commercial engines to a lesser extent than in military engines but with severe consequences to the manufacturer’s development programs and revenue service for airlines.1 HCF affected virtually all engine components and many of the materials. It impacted not only engine reliability and safety of flight, but also sustain - ment, requiring increased field inspections and depot maintenance and reduced aircraft availability. This problem became so pervasive that a major program was initiated to solve it. The AFRL began the HCF Initiative with the strategy of developing the tools and techniques to change the basis of HCF design from empirically based to physics based and then to demonstrate and transition these tools to the industry design systems. The Initiative consisted of seven action teams: Materials Damage Tolerance, Component Surface Treatment, Passive Damping Technology, Forced Response Prediction, Component Analysis, Aeromechanical Characterization, and Instrumentation. Engine demonstrations were an eighth action team, but as the engine demonstrators supported the overall Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology program, they were eventually not counted in the HCF Initiative.1 The impact of the HCF Initiative on current and development engines was enormous. The field en - gine inspection workload for HCF was reduced by more than 90 percent, and the proportion of engine mishaps resulting from HCF was reduced from 54 to 7 percent, far exceeding the HCF program goal of 50 percent.1 Further, these same tools became enabling technologies for the next generation of high-performance jet engines, including the F-135 engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Without these tools and methods, the development programs would likely have encountered many unexpected difficulties with the accompanying delays and cost growth. 1 1Theodore Nicholas. 2006. High Cycle Fatigue, A Mechanics of Materials Approach. London, UK: Elsevier. 2Danny Eylon, University of Dayton, personal communication. 3B.A. Cowles. 1996. High cycle fatigue in aircraft gas turbines—an industry perspective. International Journal of Fracture 80:147-163.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 142 in the FIGURE 5-2 Condition-based maintenance as part of the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program. SOURCE: C.A. Babish IV, “ASC/ EN.” Presentation at Panel Session Kick-Off, Figure 5-2.eps 2008 ASIP Conference. bitmap • fatigue, corrosion fatigue, and stress corrosion cracking • corrosion prevention and mitigation • nondestructive inspection • maintenance and repair • failure analysis and life prediction methodologies18 The 1997 NRC report described in great detail the state of the art of all of the above and suggested 49 specific technical recommendations. This report was well received by the Air Force and was influential at the time in determining not only the research agenda, but also the strategies for inserting technology into practice. This report offers an appropriate template for the sustainment tasks ahead for 18 NRC. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=5917. Accessed November 22, 2010.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 159 And foR Air Force has adopted a strategy of ILCM and instituted new processes to manage the S&T portfolio. The following section discusses the current state of this transi- tion under the headings of the three R’s: requirements, resources, and right people. Requirements Guidance for establishing requirements in sustainment technology develop- ment are now to be drawn from the Air Force Science and Technology Strategy 2010, described earlier in this chapter. Sustainment, one of eight areas targeted for in- creased emphasis, will be planned along with other areas according to the approach sketched in that document (see Figure 5-6). This oversimplified diagram describes the development of technology as a linear feed-forward process, neglecting the important feed-back of information and experience that often energizes early-stage development. Nevertheless, it is a convenient planning structure. AF & Rapid Prod Center MAJCOM Air Force Strategy Reaction ALC Needs Technology Horizons Urgent Needs Needs Capability Service Core Science & Technologies Concepts Leads to Leads to Leads to Function Knowledge (50% TOA) (20% TOA) Capabilities (20% TOA) (10% Flagships) Low Tech Maturity High Transitions to Transitions to Transitions to Transitions to •Labs •Product Centers •Prod Centers •Warfighter •Industry •ALCs •ALCs •Fielded Systems •Ideas •Industry •MAJCOMS Subject Ma tter •Experiments •Demos Experts •Proto types FIGURE 5-6 Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) approach to S&T. SOURCE: General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief Figure 5-7.eps of Staff, United States Air Force, and Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, “ Air Force Science and Technology Strategy 2010.”
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 160 in the Quoting Air Force Science and Technology Strategy 2010, the four stages in this process are42 Science and Knowledge Science and knowledge are the foundation of the Air Force S&T Program and the corner- stone of the future force. Based on visions of the future established by Air Force leadership, Air Force scientists and engineers identify, nurture, and harvest the best basic research to transform leading-edge scientific discoveries into new technologies with substantial military potential. These technologies transform the art-of-the-possible into the near- state-of-the-art and offer new and better ways for the acquisition community to address far-term warfighter needs. Technologies Air Force scientists and engineers continually interact with warfighters to understand their capability needs. The Air Force S&T Program addresses these needs by leading and harness - ing innovation across service laboratories, government agencies, industry, and academia. These efforts mitigate risk and create the foundation for new capability concepts. Capability Concepts Senior representatives from Headquarters Air Force, MAJCOMs, Centers, and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will work together to define a balanced set of capability concepts that support known warfighter needs and mitigate risk from emerging threats. The highest-priority capability concepts are designated as Air Force “Flagship Capability Concepts (FCCs).” These FCCs address validated capability gaps and increase Air Force leadership’s visibility into the Air Force S&T Program. Service Core Function Capabilities The Air Force’s investment in S&T ensures the infusion of revolutionary and evolutionary S&T-enabled capabilities that are needed to maintain air, space, and cyberspace dominance. The Air Force S&T Program will address the needs identified in each of the twelve Service Core Functions (SCFs). Each of the MAJCOMS has one or more SCFs. Sustainment is housed in Agile Combat Support, AFMC’s SCF. As noted earlier in this chapter, technology development for sustainment should be found at every stage identified in Figure 5-6, but it is primarily in Technologies that transitions to the ALCs are identified, while both ALCs and MAJCOMs are called out as recipients in Capability Concepts. The planning process for sustain- ment within Technologies is primarily the responsibility of AFRL, demands close cooperation with the ALCs and programs such as ASIP, ENSIP, and FSIP in iden- tifying priorities, and is endorsed by higher-level validation within AFMC. As this report is being written, this planning process has not yet been completed, although extensive pre-planning is evident. During 2010, AFRL commissioned a study by a 42 General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, and The Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force. Air Force Science and Technology Strategy 2010.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 161 And foR distinguished group, seeking its advice on priorities and process.43 During 2011, AFRL will be further aided by the results of the AFSAB study on sustainment that is under way in parallel to this current study and mentioned earlier in the chapter. Anticipating a successful planning process, the Air Force has already committed to an increase in funding for this area. This planned increase of funds is consistent with statements by the Greybeards that the present effort is underfunded, but until the planning process is complete, no judgment can be made about its adequacy to address the need. Also uncertain at this time are the specific process changes that may accompany this technology development plan and how priorities and funding will be made available for transition to ALCs and industry. The planning that leads to Capability Concepts supporting the MAJCOMs is carried out as part of AFRL’s Integrated Planning and Programming (IPP) pro- cess.44 This “five body” integrated process, involving the TDs, a Capabilities Coun- cil, a Capabilities Working Group (CWG), an IPP Council, and the Commander, was developed to ensure a balanced S&T investment portfolio that addresses near- to far-term warfighter needs. The CWGs are responsible for managing customer- AFRL interface, gathering needs, and translating those needs into S&T projects that will deliver the desired capabilities. There is a CWG for each MAJCOM and its associated SCFs, and each CWG is chaired by a senior leader in the AFRL. In the case of sustainment, the AFMC CWG addresses AFMC’s SCF of Agile Com- bat Support, which includes sustainment needs along with those of several other areas. This CWG is chaired by the Director of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of AFRL. Two organizational paths now exist for high-level validation and transition of sustainment technology development within AFRL: (1) selec- tion at the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council (AFROC) in which a very few Capability Concepts are identified as Air Force Flagship Capability Concepts (FCCs) and, more commonly, (2) identification as Advanced Technology Devel- opment (ATD) programs through the Advanced Technology Council accessed via the Sustainment Technology Process.45 The Capability Concepts/AFROC process identifies high-priority candidates that may be designated as FCCs. The definition, characteristics, and attributes of FCCs are shown in Figure 5-7. Organized within AFRL, these candidate FCCs then follow the process shown in Figure 5-8 to become FCCs. In the first FCC submission under this new strategic management approach (completed in November 2010), AFRL submitted several 43 Vince Russo. “Greybeard Assessment ofthe Sustainment Technology Transition Process.” Presen- tation to the committee, Dayton, Ohio, February 7, 2011. 44 Personal communication between C. Browning and Dr. James Malas, AFRL/XP. 45 USAF. 2011. Sustainment Technology Process. Personal communication from Claudia Kropas- Hughes, Deputy Chief, Technology Transition Division, AFMC/A5S, to the committee, May 4, 2011.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 162 in the Definition: An integrated technology project collaboratively developed by MAJCOM(s), Center(s), and AFRL that: Addresses a documented and prioritized MAJCOM capability need Is commissioned via Air Force S&T governance structure Is traced to a CRRA gap and linked to a Service Core Function Master Plan Attributes: Initial systems engineering and Development Planning (DP) initiated Between a leading DP concept and a prototype Assigned to lead Center for transition MAJCOM transition manager identified Transition funding (6.4) committed 2 years prior to S&T completion Defined S&T baseline/exit criteria S&T project ideally completed during current Future Years Defense Program 1 1 FIGURE 5-7 Definition and attributes of Flagship Capability Concepts (FCCs). SOURCE: Steven H. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering. “AF Science and Tech - nology Strategy.” Presentation to the Air Force Studies Board, November 16, 2010. FCC candidates, and the Air Force S&T Board recommended that the following projects be selected as FCCs:46 1. High Velocity Penetrating Weapon (HVPM) 2. Responsive Reusable Boost for Space Access (RBS) 3. Selective Cyber Operations for Tech Integration (SCOTI) 4. Low Observable (LO) Maintainability 5. Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) 6. Selectable Effects Munitions (SEM) 7. Next Gen C2 and Operations for remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) From this list, the AFROC selected the top three candidates.47 The sustainment candidate, LO Maintainability, did not make the cut during this cycle. However it was characterized as an excellent program and will continue to support its prime 46 Major General Ellen Pawlikowski. “AFRL Overview to the Electronic Engineering Steering Group.” January 2011. 47 Ibid.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 163 And foR S&T Collaborative Needs/Solutions S&T Drivers Process NMS, QDR, DPPG, (MAJCOMs/Centers/AFRL) AF Strategy, Process ACC Candidate OPsCs, CRRA, CFMPs, AMC Identify S&T Needs & AFSOC FCCs Technology Horizons, MAJCOM AFSPC Propose Technology AF S&T Strategy, ATC AFMC Solutions Wargaming GSC AETC S&T solutions responsive to MAJCOM/Center AF S&T Group guidance Review, Validate, & Recommend Proposed FCCs (22-23 Sep; DC) AFROC (A5-led) AFS&T Board Validate FCCs Prioritize & Approve FCCs (17 Nov; at AFMC) (8 Oct; DC) POM Build AFG/AFB/AFC AFMC/AFRL AFMC—S&T A8-led process Document in S&T Plan User MAJCOMs—6.4 FIGURE 5-8 S&T planning process producing Flagship Capability Concepts (FCCs). SOURCE: Steven H. Walker, Deputy Assis- Figure 5-9.eps tant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering. “AF Science and Technology Strategy.” Presentation to the Air Force Studies Board, November 16, 2010. customer, ACC. The other candidate programs will likewise continue to be worked by AFRL and its partners as Capability Concepts. This is certainly the highest vis- ibility given to a sustainment technology program in recent memory and reflects well on the Air Force’s commitment to reemphasize this important area. The sec- ond and more common transition path for sustainment technologies will lead to the AFMC/ATC via the Sustainment Technology Process. This process, identified earlier in Figure 5-5, has now been revisited and converted into the seven-step process depicted in Figure 5-9.48 This process was roughly at step 4 when this report was being written and is expected to lead to recommendation to the AFMC/ATC in 2012. In lieu of comple- tion of the process this year, AFMC/A4 has identified HVM as the sustainment candidate for consideration by the AFMC/ATC scheduled for August 2011. 48 USAF. 2011. Sustainment Technology Process. Personal communication from Claudia Kropas- Hughes, Deputy Chief, Technology Transition Division, AFMC/A5S, to the committee, May 4, 2011.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 164 in the FIGURE 5-9 Newly revised sustainment technology process. SOURCE: Claudia Kropas-Hughes, Deputy Chief, Technology Figure 5-10.eps Transition Division, AFMC/A5S, personal communication to the committee, May 4, 2011. bitmap Resources Adequate and timely funding are key factors in any successful technology transition process. Funding issues affecting the sustainment technology transition process are (1) the restrictions placed on use of funds associated with each category of the “technology for sustainment” process: development, implementation, and maintenance; (2) the amount of funds in these categories required to support the work needed; and (3) the timing of the available funds. Funds are broken out by appropriations and are often referred to as “colors of money.” There are several colors of money within the Air Force, but three are strongly tied to the “technol- ogy for sustainment” processes. Figure 5-10 illustrates the funding categories for the Air Force S&T program, along with those of the acquisition and operation and maintenance (O&M) programs, in addition to the various colors of money that house these program elements. Their specified functions prohibit use of funds in any category for reasons other
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 165 And foR than those allowed by statutes. If funding for any stage in the technology transition shown in Figure 5-6 is inadequate, then it is difficult to cover the deficiency with funds from another color or level. In addition to category issues, the successful transition of technologies for sustainment is greatly affected by the amount of funding within each of the stake- holders—the blocks within the levels shown in Figure 5-10—and the timing of these funds. Amounts and timing are firmly linked. Adequate funding at the S&T stage is essential to creating and sustaining technical expertise, producing a suite of technologies with potential sustainment applications, and developing totally new technology solutions to sustainment issues. Inserting S&T solutions that are not quick reaction support can be very time sensitive. In many cases, there is a window of opportunity where the need, S&T solution, system lifecycle stage, and funding all align. If the funding is not there, on time, this delicate balance can be disrupted, and the window can close very quickly. Because of the time-sensitive nature of the Color of Money Activity 3400 System Operations & Maintenance System Production 3010 6.3B/6.4/6.5 System Development 6.3 6.3 Advanced Technology Dev 3600 Manufacturing Technology Critical ATDs Experiments 6.2 Applied Research 6.1 Basic Research FIGURE 5-10 Figure 5-11.eps Program elements by funding levels.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 166 in the insertion process, reprogramming of funds or developing new sources of funds may not be an option. As shown in Figure 5-11, the overall DoD S&T budget requests for 6.3 funds have been relatively constant since FY 2003 and fairly flat for 6.1 and 6.2 funds since FY 1998. Congressional interest items and external entities, such as DARPA, have provided additional funds, but these are generally earmarked to specific organizations for specific technologies. Since the “cost of doing business,” which includes salaries, contractor costs, facility charges, and supplies, has increased over this period, the net buying power of the S&T program has effectively decreased. The combination of AFRL’s reduction in buying power with increased and chang- ing warfighter needs has inevitably resulted in the prioritization of programs, with some going unfunded or moved to the out years. With the ever-present competi- tion for resources, sustainment-related technologies require strong support from the highest levels to maintain its share of the Table of Allowance (TOA). As this high-level support waned so did funding for sustainment. FIGURE 5-11 DoD S&T funding by budget activity. SOURCE: Bob Baker, Deputy Director for Plans and Programs, Figure 5-12.eps Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. “Fiscal year 2011 President’s Budget bitmap Request for the DoD Science & Technology Program.” April 13, 2010. Available at http://www.dtic. mil/ndia/2010SET/Baker.pdf. Accessed on August 15, 2011.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 167 And foR Finding 5-7. Successful development and transition of sustainment technol- ogy require multi-year coordinated planning by several related organizations within the Air Force and with its suppliers. This planning must be organized and then validated at decision levels above those within the AFRL. Right People Qualified people at all levels of technical skill and training are critical to the health of any technology-dependent system. The Air Force is not alone in recog- nizing that weaknesses in its technical workforce are present and becoming more significant. Major national studies, including the NRC report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, have identified serious deficiencies in the current U.S. education system for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and have made recommendations for improvement at all education levels.49 The DoD and individual services have all recognized this need and have instituted programs for STEM development of various kinds ranging from K-12 through to technical and graduate study and on to continuing education. In the spring of 2011 the Air Force released Bright Horizons, a workforce stra- tegic plan designed to support the S&T visions identified in the 2010 Technology Horizons.50,51 Bright Horizons defines a process of strategic workforce manage- ment, identifies specific goals, and articulates a broad array of activities including identifying technical skill needs throughout the Air Force, encouraging continuing education opportunities, supporting undergraduate and graduate education, and engaging in K-12 outreach. Overarching responsibility for execution will be moni- tored by the newly created STEM Advisory Council, chaired by SAF/AQ. Although broad in scope and vision, this document is, by its very nature, short on specifics, including implications of such issues as budget and hiring freezes in the era of constrained budgets that lies ahead. It will be several years before sufficient detail is available to see how Bright Horizons influences the scientific and engineering workforce within the Air Force. The committee did not perform sufficient research on the specific workforce needs in the areas covered by sustainment technology to justify detailed findings and recommendations. Somewhat unique to the case of sustainment, required expertise has historically been internally developed to be able to authoritatively supply quick reaction support, to serve as collocated engineers in the SPOs or 49 NRC. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/ catalog.php?record_id=11463. 50 USAF. 2011. Bright Horizons…the AF STEM Workforce Strategic Roadmap . Washington, D.C. 51 USAF. 2010. Technology Horizons: A Vision for Air Force Science and Technology During 2010- 2030 (Volume I). Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief Scientist of the Air Force. May 1.
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 168 in the ALCs, and to understand the ALC/sustainment environment. It became clear during the study that the AFRL’s commitment to developing and sustaining this unique talent pool appears to have gradually eroded over the past several years as sustainment has played a reduced role in Air Force S&T.52 Recent S&T workforce development efforts have been directed at innovative, longer range technologies, rather than nearer term “support” technologies. Sustainment as a career field seems to have lost its luster within AFRL. Any plan developed by the Air Force to address its sustainment needs must necessarily be cognizant of this workforce issue. Bright Horizons creates the structure that would encourage identification of these critical needs and opportunities for addressing them. RECOMMENDATION AFRL can point to a long history of attention to sustainment and to many successful transitions to industry and the ALCs of technology that increased air- craft availability and/or reduced maintenance costs. In recent years, support for sustainment-focused technology has waned because of increased attention to other technical priorities and opportunities, too frequent changes in strategy and process, and reductions in funding for sustainment technology, especially for the transition process. There is capability within AFRL development programs to affect sustain- ment costs on existing weapon systems and to justify increased AFRL investments and foci in these areas. New processes, commitment to ILCM by management, and increased attention to sustainment at the highest levels have set the stage for optimum use of these resources. Missing is the comprehensive plan and subsequent implementation. Recommendation 5-1. The Air Force should develop a “technology for sustain- ment” plan that identifies processes, technical agendas, workforce needs, and required funding resources. Such a plan should be imbedded within the overall ILCM strategy that is being developed by the Air Force. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Throughout its history, the Air Force S&T system has made numerous note- worthy transitions of technology, including intellectual capital, to the sustainment community, which includes the acquisition, industry, ALCs, and fielded systems. From emerging technologies to rapid reaction to urgent needs, AFRL personnel have delivered technologies to support the Air Force mission. For the most part, AFRL sustainment technology development has focused on the near- to mid-term 52 Committee discussions with AFRL representatives on February 7-8, 2011.
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technology development inseRtion s U s tA i n m e n t 169 And foR timeframe. The emphasis on sustainment has ebbed and flowed over the years: it was a major emphasis area in the early years, was less so during the FLTC era, and is receiving increased planning emphasis in today’s developing strategy. It is impera- tive in this changing environment that a comprehensive technology development and transition plan be completed and implemented with adequate resources and personnel to achieve the stated Air Force goals of ILCM. During the past decade, a series of changes in processes for establishing require- ments and allocating adequate resources has led to a far less than optimum usage of the highly qualified personnel in AFRL and the ALCs charged with sustainment tasks. This report was written during a period in which high-level changes to the S&T system were being developed but had not yet fully reached down into either the laboratory or the centers. The committee was encouraged to learn of the recom- mitment to a process that would lead to funding of high-priority areas to ensure transition. It was also encouraged to learn that sustainment is clearly identified in the recently released Air Force S&T plan and that a new program element has been established for this area. Pending rapid development of these new processes and their subsequent implementation, these steps all tend in the right direction for the Air Force. Underlying all of the above is the issue of what specific technology development areas should be included in the mix when technology for sustainment is identi- fied. Historically, sustainment technology referred primarily to issues developing during the life of already acquired systems. Detection of problems and technol- ogy for repair dominate that arena. Interaction with the ALCs and SPOs has been and remains critical to the identification of problems needing fixing and viable approaches to doing so. On the other hand, a broad area of technology develop- ment is intended to lead to longer life and less expensive maintenance that may be introduced into new systems. As the Air Force fully embraces the concept of ILCM now beginning to appear in high-level plans and visions, it will be necessary to broaden the common understanding of technology for sustainment to include those technologies and adequately support their development and transition into new systems. This subject is further explored in Chapter 6 under the heading Pro- viding for Continued Incorporation of Technology for Sustainment.