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1 Introduction OVERVIEW The ability of the United States Air Force (USAF) to keep its aircraft operating at an acceptable operational tempo, in wartime in and peacetime, has been vital to the Air Force since its inception. This is a much larger issue for the Air Force today, having effectively been at war for 20 years, with its legacy aircraft becoming increasingly more expensive to operate and maintain and with military budgets certain to further decrease. The enormously complex Air Force weapon system sustainment enterprise is currently constrained on many sides by laws, policies, regulations and procedures, relationships, and organizational issues emanating from Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Air Force itself. The difficulty of functioning in the midst of this complexity is compounded as the operational demands of weapon system sustainment and its growing cost collide with the realities of shrinking budgets in the years ahead. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics recently stated, “[M]ost of the money in the budget is spent on sustaining weapon systems that were procured in the past rather than on acquisition programs per se.”1 In May 2010, the DoD introduced the Defense Efficiencies Initiative, which seeks to “increase efficiencies, 1 Ashton Carter, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “Penta - gon Efficiency Initiatives.” Remarks given at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC, April 20, 2011. Available at http://www.heritage.org/Events/2011/04/Pentagon-Efficiency?query=Pentagon+ Efficiency+Initiatives:+Are+They+Enough+to+Stave+Off+More+Defense+Cuts?. Accessed May 2, 2011. 15

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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 16 in the reduce overhead costs, and eliminate redundant functions in order to improve the effectiveness of the DoD enterprise. This effort is focused on reprioritizing how DoD can use resources to more effectively support and sustain the force [emphasis added].”2 As the overall Air Force budget decreases, funding for weapon system sustainment competes with funding for modernizing the Air Force. Against the back-drop of these stark realities, the Air Force requested the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, under the auspices of the Air Force Studies Board, to conduct an in-depth assessment of current and future Air Force weapon system sustainment initiatives and recommend future courses of action for consideration by the Air Force. COMMITTEE FORMATION AND TERMS OF REFERENCE The National Academies approved the terms of reference (TOR) for the study in September 2009 (see Box 1-1), and this 15-month study was funded by the Air Force in July 2010. Committee members were selected for their backgrounds in academia, industry, and government. Two additional committee members with background and experience in weapon system software and Air Force financial management were added to the committee after the requirements and breadth of tasks were better understood. STUDY APPROACH Six full committee meetings of 2 to 3 days each were held approximately ev- ery month starting in October 2010. These full committee meetings were held at facilities operated by the National Academies and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In addition, subgroups of the full committee visited the three Air Force Air Logistics Centers (ALCs), the Navy Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The committee extensively relied on briefings by Air Force management teams in the acquisition and logistics functional disciplines on aircraft sustainment from the conceptual exploration of technology, to weapon system initial concepts, to weapon system fielding, to the sustainment phase, and eventually to system retire- ment. The committee conducted interviews and discussions with senior leaders, technical specialists, and managers, including those focused on (1) development of new capabilities; (2) acquisition activities for fielding new capabilities and systems; and (3) support of fielded systems including supply chain management, engineer- ing, technical management, and overhaul and repair of current fleets. To assist its 2 Department of Defense (DoD). 2010. Defense Efficiencies Initiative. Available at http://www. defense.gov/home/features/2010/0810_effinit/. Accessed April 21, 2011.

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intRodUction 17 BOX 1-1 Terms of Reference The NRC will 1. Assess current sustainment investments, infrastructure and processes for adequacy in sus - taining aging legacy systems and their support equipment. 2. Determine if any modifications in policy are required, and, if so, identify them and make recommendations for changes in Air Force regulations, policies, and strategies to accomplish the sustainment goals of the Air Force. 3. Determine 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. 4. Determine if the Air Logistics Centers have the necessary resources (funding, manpower, skill sets, and technologies) and are equipped and organized to sustain legacy systems and equipment and the Air Force of tomorrow. 5. Identify and make recommendations regarding incorporating sustainability into future aircraft designs.1 1 Many of the presenters to the committee agreed that a budget “train wreck” with respect to sustainment costs is looming. The TOR did not require the committee to undertake business case analyses related to the report recommendations. However, such analyses are worthy of future consideration by the Air Force because they would provide insight on whether implementation of the recommendations would result in overall long-term reductions in sustainment costs. evaluation of Air Force sustainment activities, the committee also met with past and present naval aircraft support personnel, the Defense Logistics Agency, and industry experts associated with both military support and commercial aviation fleet management. From the beginning of the study, the committee sought to understand what was meant in the terms of reference by the term “sustainment” and the phrase “sustain- ment goals of the Air Force.” The committee also recognized the need to understand the “as is” conditions of sustainment support; comprehend the environments that the Air Force sustainment enterprise has faced in the past, faces now, and is likely to face in the future; and determine the Air Force’s planning for future sustain- ment activities. In the DoD or the Joint Staff, sustainment with respect to weapon

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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 18 in the systems is not precisely defined. However, joint doctrine refers to “sustainment” planning for operations. DEFINING SUSTAINMENT Weapon System Sustainment in the Context of the Military Mission The Joint Doctrine, Joint Force Employment, Planning for Joint Operations, J-7 Operational Plans and Interoperability Directorate defines “sustainment,” in terms of “sustainment planning,” as follows:3 Sustainment planning is directed toward providing and maintaining levels of personnel, materiel, and consumables required to sustain the planned levels of combat activity for the estimated duration and at the desired level of intensity. It is the responsibility of the combatant commanders in close coordination with the Services and defense agencies. (p. 5) The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) significantly expands the definition of sustainment as follows: the supportability of fielded systems and their subsequent life cycle product support—from initial procurement to supply chain management (including maintenance) to reutilization and disposal. It includes sustainment functions such as initial provisioning, cataloging, inventory management and warehousing, and depot and field level maintenance. Sustain- ment begins when any portion of the production quantity has been fielded for operational use. Sustainment includes assessment, execution and oversight of performance based logistics initiatives, including management of performance agreements with force and support providers; oversight of implementation of support systems integration strategies; application of diagnostics, prognostics, and other condition based maintenance techniques; coordination of logistics information technology and other enterprise integration efforts; implementation of logistics footprint reduction strategies; coordination of mission area integration; identification of technology insertion opportunities; identification of opera- tions and support cost reduction opportunities and monitoring of key support metrics. 4 DAU’s definition of sustainment is broad in scope and nearly all encompass- ing. To best align the scope of the study, the committee examined other defini- tions that focus solely on the weapon system—for example, the Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product Support Analysis (2009), where the preferred term that most closely aligns with weapon system sustainment in the context of this study is “product support.” 3 Available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jrm/plans.pdf. Accessed April 22, 2011. 4 Available at https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=18073. Accessed May 1, 2011.

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intRodUction 19 Weapon System Sustainment Defined for This Study For this report, the committee adopts the following definition of weapon sys- tem or aircraft sustainment from the 2009 DoD report:5 System sustainment is the package of support functions required to maintain the readiness and operational capability of weapon systems, subsystems, software, and support systems. It encompasses materiel management, distribution, technical data management, mainte- nance, training, cataloging, configuration management, engineering support, repair parts management, failure reporting and analysis, and reliability growth. Past, Present, and Future Environments for Weapon System Sustainment The committee hopes that this report is timely for the Air Force in light of the current environment of an uncertain world, more than 20 years of high-tempo operations, expanding global demands on the Air Force, and a high demand for continuous surveillance over current theaters of operations. Additionally, the Air Force as well as the entire DoD is under intense budgetary pressures, with rap- idly escalating costs associated with weapon system sustainment due, in part, to significantly aging fleets and smaller numbers of newer fleets with features and capabilities that increase support costs. Simultaneously, there is a constant need to recapitalize the Air Force’s aged fleet and to introduce new technology to provide the required level of deterrence and warfighting capability. Military Operations Since its formation 63 years ago, the Air Force has experienced variations in its aircraft readiness. Nevertheless, the Air Force has always made it a priority to keep its aircraft operating at acceptable rates of mission accomplishment and to be ready for any mission the nation’s leaders direct. The Air Force has been on a wartime- like footing for the past 20 years, and its aircraft systems are aging and becoming increasingly more expensive to operate and maintain. The committee received no evidence to indicate that the demand for Air Force resources and the associated operational tempo will diminish in the near term. Additionally, the fleet mix has changed over the past 10 to 15 years from fleets that were typically “hardware oriented” with limited amounts of software to platforms entering the inventory 5 DoD. 2009. DoD Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product Support Assessment. Novem - ber. Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Available at https://dap.dau.mil/career/log/blogs/archive/2010/01/28/implementation-of- dod-weapon-system-acquisition-reform-product-support-assessment-psa-recommendations.aspx. Accessed November 22, 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 20 in the today that are dependent on software for up to 80 percent of their functionality, with attendant upkeep costs.6 As many aircraft in the current fleet are extended beyond their planned lives, they are modified to extend their lives, resolve existing capability shortfalls, or im- prove hardware and software support situations. Yet, a newly modified platform, although achieving new levels of performance to meet military demands, is often still an aged platform. The committee saw evidence of updated aircraft systems experiencing aging issues in numerous presentations and at visits to the ALCs. For example, a newly modified C-5M aircraft needed depot maintenance actions to repair aircraft subsystem structure cracking that led to fuel leaks only months after the modifications were completed. Although modified aircraft are needed and are performing superbly, the basic airframe will require careful attention for the remainder of its useful life. WEAPON SYSTEM SUSTAINMENT GOALS OF THE AIR FORCE Even after much research and discussion, the committee was unable to identify the officially sanctioned sustainment goals for the Air Force. It was often stated during the course of the study that aircraft availability is the measure of merit. However, widely varying oral definitions for aircraft availability were provided. The committee closely examined Air Force Instruction 21-101 and Technical Or- der 00-20-2 and observed charts that show aircraft availability for various weapon systems.7 The Air Force’s sustainment goals are discussed in detail in Chapter 2 of this report. Governance: Laws, Policies, Strategies, and Regulations The enormously complex Air Force sustainment enterprise is currently con- strained on many sides by laws, policies, regulations and procedures, and rela- tionships emanating from the Congress, DoD, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, labor agreements, and the Air Force itself. In fact, during the course of the study, seldom was there a discussion that did not raise governance issues. These governances have been instituted to promote various standardized practices, facili- tate the development of sustainment practices, and accommodate special interest 6 Jack Ferguson. Crouching dragon, hidden software: Software in DOD weapon systems. 2001 IEEE Software 18(4):105-107. 7 Lt Col Jeff Meserve, Chief, Congressionals, Studies and Analysis Branch, Directorate of Main - tenance, DCS/Logistics, Installations and Mission Support. USAF Maintenance Metrics: Looking Forward with Aircraft Availability. Available at http://www.sae.org/events/dod/presentations/2007 LtColJeffMeserve.pdf. Accessed April 29, 2011.

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intRodUction 21 needs. Collectively they create a labyrinth of issues that detract from managing sustainment as a balanced enterprise with strong emphases on effectiveness for the warfighter and high efficiency for the taxpayer. In fact, a report commissioned by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 frequently points out that the governances are many, application is often not adhered to, and the results make sustainment measurements difficult.8 There appears to be broad support among the Air Force acquisition and sustainment communities for a comprehensive and extensive review of these various governances. AFI 63-1019 is an example of an excellent directive after which such a review could be fashioned. Also, as noted by the sustainment community, the Air Force has not delegated to a single office or command the authority to integrate both early acquisition direction on system sustainment practices as well as to control sustainment in the years of execution. Relationships Sustainment activities require significant coordination and communication across a myriad of functions and organizations. Sustainment is currently largely facilitated by interpersonal relationships rather than clear lines of authority. Al- though many sustainment activities and processes produce desired operational outcomes, many issues require great effort to just “make it happen.”10 A classic example is the supply chain fragmentation that occurred when the base realign- ment and closing (BRAC) actions of the 1990s, and particularly 2005, moved the procurement of components and parts to the Defense Logistics Agency. A signifi- cant portion of this review addresses the effects that past early-system configuration and programmatic decisions have had on operational sustainability policies and looks into process directives that would be helpful in facilitating a more effective means of putting process controls into practice. Budget The difficulty of managing and functioning in the midst of this complexity is compounded as the operational demands of sustainment and its growing cost collide with the realities of shrinking budgets. As the overall Air Force budget gets 8 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. 9 USAF. 2009. Acquisition and Sustainment Life Cycle Management. AFI 63-101. April 17. Available at http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI 63-101.pdf. Accessed December 14, 2010. 10 A discussion of sustainment organizational authority and an example of the coordination efforts required is found in Chapter 4 and depicted in Figure 4-1.

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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 22 in the smaller in real terms, funding for sustainment increasingly competes with funding to modernize the Air Force and maintain a strong and dedicated team. As discussed in Chapter 3, the real demands created by aging fleets, increasingly sophisticated systems with higher sustainment costs, and support concepts configured late in the lifecycle can drain the Air Force budget. There are many examples, such as the C-130 aircraft, an airlift workhorse, where the increased operational tempo has caused the scope of depot maintenance work to grow by 50 percent over the past several years. REPORT ORGANIZATION The complexity of the Air Force sustainment enterprise lends itself to a high degree of subject matter overlap between report chapters. This chapter provides a broad context in terms of historical factors related to sustainment and the im- portant fact that a single agreed-upon definition of sustainment does not exist. Chapter 2 addresses element 2 of the TOR by analyzing statutes and DoD and Air Force policies and procedures that direct selected aspects of acquisition that influ- ence sustainment, as well as governances that are directed at sustainment activities. The complex acquisition life cycle and actions affecting long-term sustainment activities are also discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 covers element 1 of the TOR by exploring the broad aspects of the resources consumed by sustainment. There, historical Air Force budget and execution documents are examined and future trends extrapolated.11 Chapter 4 responds to element 4 of the TOR by analyzing the Air Logistics Cen- ters in terms of resources, processes, and organization. Chapter 5 addresses element 3 of the TOR by examining the history of sustainment and the “art of the possible” in advancing technology into the current systems. High-payoff opportunities are currently rare because investment focused on technology insertion targeting sus- tainment is low and the “hurdle” rate for investment is extremely high. Chapter 6 deals with element 5 of the TOR by looking at opportunities and concepts that can be used to incorporate sustainability into future aircraft designs. There is some degree of overlap between Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 in terms of the application of 11 The DoD budget for FY2011 was appropriated toward the end of the writing of this report, and the best available data were used for the analyses in the report. In addition, the President’s FY2012 budget was released mid-way during the committee’s deliberation and serves as a source document for analyzing future expected costs. Considerable time was devoted to trying to understand the de - scription of the “efficiencies” outlined in the FY2010 and 2012 President’s budgets and their actual net effect on sustainment. Importantly, the deliberations regarding Air Force sustainment efficiencies were service-sensitive, and the committee was unable to gain an understanding of related ramifica- tions. The committee also had sessions with staff members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee to gain their perspective on not only resource issues, but also policy considerations.

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intRodUction 23 technology to sustainment of weapon systems; the principle difference is historical and current Air Force sustainment technology initiatives (Chapter 5) compared to how technology for sustainment may be considered in future weapon systems for operational capability and utility. Chapter 6 also offers a commercial model for aircraft engineering, maintenance, and sustainment for future consideration. Finally, the report is organized to provide the reader with a logical analysis of the issues from the macro aspect of governance to the details of sustaining new systems with technological innovation in the future. Findings and recommendations are embedded in the text of Chapters 2 through 6 after the supporting evidence.