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4 Assessment of Air Force Air Logistics Centers INTRODUCTION This chapter addresses element 4 of the terms of reference (TOR): “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.” The U.S. Air Force (USAF) cur- rently has three Air Logistics Centers (ALCs), operating under the Air Force Mate- riel Command (AFMC), which provide acquisition, modification, and maintenance support for the Air Force aircraft fleets, end items, commodity parts, and some missile systems. The ALCs are complex, multi-faceted organizations. They provide support to the Air Force and other components of the Department of Defense (DoD) on numerous product lines. As shown in Figure 4-1, the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC), founded in 1943 and located on Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, serves as the primary modernization, sustainment, and depot maintenance center for a variety of aircraft, including the U-2, C-5, C-17, all models of the C-130, E-8, and F-15, and other important aircraft.1,2 WR-ALC also has the Air Force’s primary 1 Major General Robert H. McMahon, Commander, Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC). “Commander’s Briefing.” Presentation to the committee, January 6, 2011. 2 United States Air Force (USAF). 2001. “A Brief History of WR-ALC and Robins AFB.” September 1. Available at http://www.robins.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070226-039.pdf. Accessed March 22, 2011. 87
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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 88 in the FIGURE 4-1 Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) operation areas of responsibility. SOURCE: Major General Robert H. McMahon, Commander, WR-ALC. “Commander’s Briefing.” Presentation to the Figure 4-1.eps committee, January 6, 2011. bitmap responsibility for avionics systems management, support equipment management, and electronic warfare systems and the significant maintenance of these systems. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC), founded in 1941 and located on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, manages an inventory of more than 2,000 aircraft including the B-1, B-2, B-52, C/KC-135, E-3, VC-25, VC-137, Cruise missile inventories, and 25 other Contractor Logistics Support aircraft.3,4,5 Addi- tionally, OC-ALC is responsible for all Air Force propulsion systems and manage- ment and a sizable portion of the propulsion systems maintenance. Figure 4-2 depicts the core expertise areas of OC-ALC’s 76th Maintenance Wing. As shown in Figures 4-3 and 4-4, the third and last ALC, Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC), founded in 1940 and located on Hill Air Force Base, Utah, provides weapon system management and sustainment for numerous platforms, including the A-10, F/QF-4, F-16, T-38, A-37, F-4, F-5, F-16, T-37, F-22A, QF-16, 3 Major General P. David Gillette, Jr., Commander, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC). “OC-ALC Strategic Goals.” Presentation to the committee, January 11, 2011. 4 USAF. Undated. Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Factsheet. Available at http://www.tinker. af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=8552. Accessed March 22, 2011. 5 Tinker Education and Development website, Force Development Division, OC-ALC.
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Assessment Air force Air Logistics centers 89 of FIGURE 4-2 Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC), 76th Maintenance Wing (76 MXW). SOURCE: Caysie Mercer, OC-ALC. “Tinker Today.” Presentation to the committee, January 11, 2011. and BQM-167A.6,7 Like WR-ALC and OC-ALC, OO-ALC has key areas of spe- cialization, such as the management and repair of Air Force landing gear systems and sustainment management for conventional munitions and the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system. To establish the degree of complexity, it is important to note that responsibility for program management and sustainment for some of these platforms are shared with the Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) and the Electronic Systems Center (ESC). For example, the F-22 program office is at ASC, and many sustainment actions are accomplished at OO-ALC. The E-3 and the E-8 have program offices at ESC. The following sections address the resourcing (i.e., funding, workforce, skill sets, and technologies), equipping, and organizing of the three ALCs to sustain legacy weapon systems and equipment. The term “manpower” is used in the TOR, 6 Major General Andrew E. Busch, Commander, Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC). “OO-ALC Overview—Core Competencies & Priorities.” Presentation to the committee, January 31, 2011. 7 USAF. 2010. Ogden Air Logistics Center Factsheet. Available at http://www.afhra.af.mil/factsheets/ factsheet.asp?id=16630. March 31. Accessed March 22, 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 90 in the Current Workload Weapon system management for US: A-10, F/QF-4, F-16, T-38 FMS: A-37, F-4, F-5, F-16, T-37, Others Munitions, Range Threat, Shelters, Telecom, PCCIE, AEWS, TARS Sustainment support for F-22A, QF-16, BQM-167A, Space & C3I, GTACS, Mission Planning, Weather Specialized Management Logistics planning for F -35 Major Challenges Future of the Directorate Aging aircraft Weapon system management for Fatigue cracks US: A-10 (2030) F/QF -4 (2016) F-16 (2024) T -38 (2020) Corrosion F-22 F-35 Life-limited/overage parts Sustainment manager for Diminishing manufacturing sources QF-16, BQM -167A, F -35?, UAS? Migration to new sustainment tools (e.g., enterprise information systems) FIGURE 4-3 Weapon system management at Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC). SOURCE: Major General Andrew E. Busch, Commander, OO-ALC. “OO-ALC Mission Briefing.” Presentation to the committee, January 31, 2011. Current Workload Aircraft maintenance/missiles A-10, F -16, F-22, C -130, F-4, MMIII Software; development/sustainment Exchangeables Landing gear, power systems, generators, electronics, avionics, composites, shelters Reclamation and storage (AMARG) Future Workload Major Challenges ICBM and nuclear related material Aircraft Maintenance Transition nuclear materiel handling/ F -35, MQ1, MQ9 management from DLA to AF RCS Verification Aircraft maintenance Exchangeables Aging aircraft structures Landing gear, power systems, Diminishing manufacturing sources composites, generators, F -22, and F - Data Rights 35 associated electronics and software Tech Data, Source Code Reclamation and storage (AMARG) FIGURE 4-4 Depot maintenance at OO-ALC. SOURCE: Major General Andrew E. Busch, Commander, OO-ALC. “OO- ALC Overview—Core Competencies and Priorities.” Presentation to the committee, January 31, 2011.
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 91 of but this term often equates solely to people. Thus, the term “workforce,” which includes not only numbers but also skill sets, education, and training, is used in this chapter. METHODOLOGY FOR THE ASSESSMENT The committee assessed the ALCs’ activities and resourcing using a variety of inputs, including: (1) briefings at Headquarters Air Force; (2) briefings at Head- quarters AFMC; and (3) visits to the three ALCs with presentations and tours by the respective ALC management chains. During the visits to the ALCs, the com- mittee divided into smaller subgroups composed of subject matter experts that aligned with the activities at the specific ALCs. The committee formed an opinion of the ALCs’ activities and conditions from detailed presentations and from can- did discussions with the workforce. To assess the ALCs’ resourcing, the committee required an understanding of how the ALC leadership teams view the current situation and how the Headquarters AFMC and Headquarters Air Force view both the past investment utilization and the current flow of funding to support ALC operations. Consequently, a holistic perspective was taken of the past, present, and future outlooks for assessing resourcing investments. The format of each ALC visit was guided by an agenda established by the ALC commander in response to a general request for information. Each ALC visit con- sisted of a combination of briefings, facility tours, and in-depth discussions with the participants. Each ALC was represented by its commander, with the attendance of both senior military and civilian leadership. The briefings were both detailed and comprehensive, the tours were open and thorough, and the discussions were frank and responsive to the questions posed. In addition, the reviews of the activi- ties of Headquarters AFMC and the ALCs focused on the adequacy of the ALCs’ resources in terms of organizational structure, responsibilities, funding, workforce, skill sets, and technologies and their current and planned equipment to sustain legacy and future systems. In addition to the three ALCs, two Air Force major command customers of the ALCs, specifically the Air Combat Command and the Air Mobility Command, provided important input to the committee. Finally, the original architects of the United States Navy’s Naval Aviation Enterprise, including a past commander of Naval Aviation Forces and the current Director of Logistics for the Naval Air Forces,
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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 92 in the provided a valuable perspective on an alternative business model.8,9,10 These latter Navy sources provided valuable insights and benchmarks on how the Navy operates its sustainment enterprise. Additionally, four committee members travelled to the Navy Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) to observe selected elements of the Navy’s depot maintenance programs and the interfaces with program offices and supply support.11 Although this chapter stands alone, topics such as policy, investments in general and in facility and equipment technology are covered in depth in Chapters 2, 3, and 5, respectively. HISTORY AND PRESENT STATE OF AIR FORCE AIR LOGISTIC CENTERS Historically, the ALCs have operated under several different organizational constructs. From the mid 1970s until approximately 1990, the ALCs had three primary functions, which, in today’s terms, were material management, mainte- nance, and distribution. It is important to note that material management involved managing commodities and parts as well as weapon systems (i.e., system program offices for aircraft). There were also major support functions such as contracting and manufacturing, and communications and computer systems. Although the internal alignment of all of these functions varied during the 1970s to the early 1990s, the ALCs were consistently functionally aligned. During the early 1990s the functions were re-aligned according to product orientation, which aligned weapon system sustainment not only with weapon system management but also with unique material management and major system maintenance, under a single leader. For example, at WR-ALC, a C-5 management directorate became responsible for C-5 aircraft systems, commodities, and main- tenance. Also important is that the ALC commander, traditionally a major general, became responsible and accountable for the operation of the entire ALC organiza- tion. The commander generally had authority, responsibility, and accountability for the range of resources available within normal constraints to execute the programs 8 Vice Admiral Walter Massenburg (United States Navy [USN], retired). “Enterprise Behavior: Fundamental Changes in the Government Business Model.” Presentation to the committee, January 18, 2011. 9 Vice Admiral James Zortman (USN, retired). “Aircraft Sustainment Strategy: Can Industry and Government Move the Needle?” Presentation to the committee, January 19, 2011. 10 Captain Mike Kelly, Commander Naval Air Forces, Force Material. “COMNAVAIR. Presentation to the National Academies Committee on U.S. Air Force Sustainment.” Presentation to the commit - tee, January 17, 2011. 11 A conscious decision was made to not visit United States Army sustainment activities. Unlike the Army, the Navy has significant commonality with Air Force systems and resourcing. Time constraints also did not permit such a visit.
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 93 of assigned to the ALC. However, this no longer appears to be the case.12 Since 1992, when Air Force Logistics Command and Air Force Systems Command were inte- grated into a single major command, the ALCs have been part of the AFMC. This consolidation placed ALCs, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Product Centers within the same major command. The AFMC develops, tests, fields, and sustains weapon systems. Today’s ALCs provide some but not all weapon system and product support sustainment, some modernization, and some maintenance for the majority of the aircraft fleet. Some aircraft sustainment support is provided by the Product Centers, namely, the Aeronautical Systems Center and the Electronic Systems Center. The material management (supply chain) and distribution func- tions have largely been removed from the ALC commanders’ responsibilities. At the time of the 1992 integration there were five major ALCs, and a series of changes began to chip away responsibility and authority from the ALC commanders. As a result of Defense Management Review Decision (DMRD) 902, the Air Force began to transfer to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) a sizeable portion of the ALC distribution functions, which essentially involved wholesale Class IX parts storage and the movement of parts around the ALC bases. The 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act determined that the future Air Force depot maintenance work load could be more efficiently sized and managed in three ALCs. Consequently, the Sacramento ALC and the San Antonio ALC were selected for closure, with a large part of their maintenance and sustainment work realigned to the remaining three ALCs. Also in 1995, DMRD 926 began to transfer some non-recoverable parts (expendables) management to the DLA. Table 4-1 depicts the attributes and activities of the three ALCs. With the 2005 BRAC, responsibility for greater portions of the ALC supply chain were re-aligned to the DLA. In addition, responsibility for managing nearly all remaining non-reparable items (expendables) was transferred from the Air Force to the DLA center in Richmond, Virginia. Although on initial examination the implications of any transfer of expendables seem rather routine, the fact is that these types of parts range in price from a few cents to tens of thousands of dollars per assembly (see Table 4-2). Importantly, these expendables are directly related to an ALC commander’s maintenance production activities, and, whether pennies or thousands of dollars, when not available they can impact the commander’s success. The 2005 BRAC further eroded the ALC commanders’ responsibilities with respect to two key aspects of supply chain management. First, the purchasing func- tion for reparable parts at each of the ALCs was realigned to the DLA in place at the ALC base. In other words, although the Air Force would still manage reparable items, determine the quantities to be purchased, and initiate contracts for repair of these parts, the DLA would source and procure the new parts. The rationale for 12 AFMC Historian Office. Personal communications to the committee, May 3, 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 94 in the TABLE 4-1 Air Force Air Logistics Centers and Their Attributes Total Base ALC Location Employment ALC Employment MX Wing Employment Warner-Robins Robins AFB, 21,254 Total: 14,295; Civilians: Total: 8,786; Civilians: 8,173; Georgia 12,873; Military: 1,422 Military: 133 Ogden Hill AFB, Utah 22,547 Civilian and Military: 13,483 7,796 Oklahoma City Tinker AFB, 29,218 Total: 13,296; Civilians: Total: 9,263; Civilians: 9,152; Okla. 12,173; Military: 1,123 Military: 111 SOURCE: Air Force Materiel Command. this transfer was based on the belief that consolidation would provide economies of scale and place major parts purchases under the management of the DLA—a single DOD supplies purchaser. The unintended consequence was to create numerous process seams and put the same part under two separate management systems, con- trols, and authorities. Under a March 2011 memorandum, the Secretary of Defense proposed a pilot program to move additional spare parts support to the DLA.13 13 DoD. “Track Four Efficiency Initiatives Decisions.” A Memorandum for USAF Key Personnel. March 11, 2011. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense. Available at http://www. airforce-magazine.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Reports/2011/March%202011/Day24/Secdef_Ef- ficiencies_031411.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2011.
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 95 of Maintenance Wing 2010 Maintenance Weapon System and End-Item Revenue Floor Space Program Management Economic Impact FY10 total revenue Maintenance Shops: E-8C, C-130, F-15, HH-60G, $4.134 billion 4,500 ft2 (including Material UH-1, U-2, DCGS, C-5, C-17, Administration: 2,100 ft2; Support Division)— RQ-4, MQ-1, MQ-9, Software, Storage: 3,900 ft2 $1.738 billion Electronics, Electronic Warfare (missile/radar warning, chaff/flare dispensers, jamming), Support Equipment, Vehicles, Automated Test Systems, Commodities (C-5 flaps/pylons, C130 props/ radomes, C-17 landing gear doors, F-15 wings/speed brakes), F-15 and C-130 FMS 17,400 ft2 $1.7 billion B-2 Structure, F-16, A-10, F-22, $3 billion C-130, T-38, Commodities, Software 9,200 ft2 FY10 total; revenue E-3, KC-135, B-1, B-52, KC-46A, $3.511 billion (including Material B-2, Contract Logistics Support Support Division)—$2.69 Commercial Derivative A/C (KC- billion 10, E-4, VC-25, T-6, C-12, C-21, C-9, C-20, Peace Lotus, C-26, C-38, T-1A, Iraqi A/C, C-32/C-40, E-9, KDC-10, T-41, T-43, T-51, TG-10, TG-15, UV-18, C-37), Engines (F100, F101, F108, F118, F110, T56, TF39, TF34, TF33, F117, F119), Commodities, Software, ATCALS, HF Global, Foreign Military Sales The 2005 BRAC’s second change, equally significant in terms of impact, was the in-place transfer of Air Force personnel who directly provided parts movement and stocking to the ALC (almost 1,000 employees) to the DLA. These employees then reported to the DLA Distribution Command; they were no longer part of the organization responsible for producing the maintenance results, and their objec- tives and performance reviews were not driven by the ALC. Although almost 1,000 personnel were transferred, the Air Force has placed some personnel into positions to fill the voids in staffing and experience. Following the 2005 BRAC, the Air Force established the Air Force Global Logis- tics Support Center (AFGLSC) to manage all reparable parts. This action occurred for a variety of reasons, including the desire to standardize processes for reparable
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U. s . A i R f o Rc e ’ s A i Rc R A f t s U s tA i n m e n t n e e d s fUtURe 96 in the TABLE 4-2 Examples of Costs Relating to Spare Parts Last Purchase Price/ Nomenclature Quantity Used/Year Repair Cost ($) Extended Cost/Year ($) Adj pin spacer tube 22,913 7.71 176,659 (C-130) Turbine rotor blade Condemn: 806 6,375 5,138,250 (F108 Engine) Repair: 5,511 287 1,581,657 6,719,907 SOURCE: AFGLSC. parts management across the three ALCs and to provide a standard approach to supply chain management for the external world to follow. The AFGLSC assumed responsibility for the Air Force reparable parts supply chain in March 200814 and is tasked with assuring the availability of reparable parts to both base-level mainte- nance activities and depot maintenance production activities. The current AFGLSC commander is a major general with personnel located at five or more locations within the Air Force. The AFGLSC’s creation completed the combination of changes that limited the ALC commanders’ sustainment responsibilities to some weapon system or product program management as well as maintenance. The ALC commanders were rendered less effective because they lost responsibility, authority, and accountability for size\able portions of the supply chain, and had no real direct influence over outside suppliers but were still accountable for depot maintenance production and a portion of parts support to field-level activities. Clearly, the ALCs have undergone a great deal of organizational change within the past 20 years. With this brief history in mind, it would be a mistake to view the ALCs in a monolithic fashion. The committee focused on the current state of the ALCs and their resourcing for present-day operations and future support of the assigned weapon systems. ALC leadership and authority, although not specific items in the TOR, are critical factors. For example, an ALC commander must deal with multiple lines of external authority, many of whom have far less experience and certainly far less of an Air Force enterprise view. An ALC commander should be considered a “supported commander,” but many organizations fail to grasp the relationship of “supporting and supported” commander, and therefore operate independently and are driven by their own policies.15 As a result, the ALC receives fragmented sustainment support, which impacts the support it provides to its own 14 AFGLSCprovisional command was established in April 2007. 15 Kathy Cutler, Deputy Commander, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation. “Air Force Studies Board Committee on U.S. Air Force Sustainment.” Presentation to the committee, February 17, 2011.
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 97 of customers. The various entities, such as the supply chain and “out of the chain” command offices, optimize for their own organization and/or products rather than support a major sustainment entity such as an ALC. The various seams, the ALCs’ limited ability to influence the supply chain, and the fragmented system alignment all impact outcomes—to the extent that it is surprising that the process works at all. Finding 4-1. The ALC commanders’ authority has been significantly weak- ened over the past several years to the extent that they do not have sufficient authority to effectively and efficiently execute the programs for which they are responsible. Recommendation 4-1. The Air Force should establish streamlined command lines of accountability and authority to allow the ALC commanders clear execution authorities to direct process improvements on assigned programs, maintenance activities, and supply support. HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND PERFORMANCE OF AIR FORCE AIR LOGISTICS CENTERS It is essential to have a clear understanding of all the resources that impact the ALCs’ operations to better evaluate the ALCs’ capabilities. Today’s ALCs have two principal focus areas: (1) weapon system or product management and (2) main- tenance of assigned systems, end items, and parts. Numerous subsets of activities support accomplishments within these focus areas. For example, within weapon system and product management, there are product engineering, condition of equipment reviews, corrective action planning, modification management, main- tenance planning and evaluations, configuration management, technical documen- tation updates, and safety processes. Likewise within maintenance, all actions are derived from engineering-based requirements with subsets that can and should lead to effective workflow. Among these are process engineering, workforce and workload planning and scheduling, replacement parts needs and bill of material upkeep, modern equipment technology insertion efforts, and facility management. All of these processes must come together for an ALC to fulfill its mission to provide support to the commanders who rely on the ALC products and services to fulfill their missions. To understand how these processes can come together, it is useful to review who and what roles are necessary to achieve the desired results. To effectively carry out safe and efficient maintenance operations, a technical support process should be developed that begins with system design and ultimately extends to system retirement. From initial concepts, analyses are conducted to as- sess the system’s purpose, mission, operating environments, and support exposure at all levels of the system or system operations. To be effective, these processes and
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 121 of FIGURE 4-13 Software sustainment. SOURCE: Debra K. Tune, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Figure 4-13.eps Installations, Environment and Logistics. “Developing the Right Product Support Concepts for the bitmap Future.” Presentation to the committee, October 20, 2010. the ALC depot maintenance portfolio. As noted in a briefing at OO-ALC, “Even if the number of platforms decreases, software workload will continue to increase.”45 Software Workforce Approximately 2,700 people, or 12 percent of the depot maintenance work- force, provide software support to weapons systems at the ALCs. Of these, ap- proximately 90 percent are professionals, and approximately 70 percent (1,800+) have engineering or computer science backgrounds.46,47 The majority of staff are government civilian personnel, augmented significantly by contractors. The cur- rent organizational components are stable, but there is concern over the stability 45 Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Mainte - nance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 2011. 46 Tom Labrie, 76th Software Maintenance Group (76 SMXG), OO-ALC. “76 SMXG Overview.” Presentation to the committee, January 12, 2011. 47 Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Mainte - nance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 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 122 in the of funding. Funding requirements are generally driven by modernization activities. As individual weapon system programs evolve, the need for software staffing varies. In addition, as software needs grow, the technical and management workforce must be able to expand with the work. The software workforce can be maintained and grown, but it will be easier at some locations than others. Additionally, the transition from the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) to the standard civil service system will make the task harder.48 Nevertheless, there is a strong feel- ing that the needs will be met. There is strong historical compliance with industry software standards across the ALCs. The WR-ALC and OO-ALC49 software maintenance organizations are as- sessed at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute CMMI v1.150 level 5 (the highest), and both are AS9001/ISO9001 certified.51 The OC-ALC is assessed at CMMI level 4. All ALCs are currently due to be re-assessed to maintain the currency of their ratings.52 Each of the ALCs and their software maintenance organizations are critical Air Force assets. They have attained substantial process controls and quality measures at the highest levels of the industry. Their staffs have the technical skill sets required to maintain current inventory aircraft. Software Facilities The Air Force has made significant investments in software maintenance fa- cilities at the ALCs. The facilities were comparatively new and largely designed for software maintenance support activities. Although the facilities were generally impressive, the committee noted situations where the equipment and computers used for software maintenance were worn out or suffering from the inability to get repair parts, or the technology had far surpassed the on-hand support equip- ment. This is particularly important with respect to system or software integration 48 Under NSPS, the system allowed personnel to be hired at the market rate. In other words, the private-sector pay scale for engineers, for example, could be matched. Under the Federal Employee Retirement System or General Schedule system, a 12, 13, 14 gets what a 12, 13, 14 gets and the added or taking away of the locality pay. 49 Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Mainte - nance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 2011. 50 Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI): A process improvement approach that helps organizations improve their performance. CMMI can be used to guide process improvement across a project, division, or an entire organization. 51 OO-ALC was assessed CMMI v1.1 level 5 in CMMI V1.3 in 2006. SOURCE: Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Maintenance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 2011. 52 OO-ALC is scheduled to be re-assessed for CMMI v1.3 level 5 in October 2011. SOURCE: Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Maintenance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 2011.
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 123 of laboratories (SILs). These SILs are major facilities, requiring $100 million or more to stand up and fundamental to system testing. Finding 4-7. With some exceptions, the ALCs are well resourced to maintain today’s existing software. They have achieved quality processes that allow for a strong case for investment to maintain future systems software. Recommendation 4-5. The Air Force should focus the same, arguably more, attention and investment as that given to equipment in the actual weapon system on tools used for software maintenance. Maintaining currency between test laboratories and actual weapon systems is fundamental for dealing with timing, details of hardware interface behavior, and concurrency. Organization and Management A very interesting aspect of the software maintenance organization and pro- cesses at the ALCs is the lack of significant organizational and higher Headquarters management oversight. Actually, the committee found this refreshing, even though there are delicate issues requiring higher-level Air Force involvement, albeit not at an excessive level that might stifle local execution. The software leadership of the three ALCs have formed a laudable working arrangement to address workload, process improvement, and policy, fiscal, personnel, and other corporate software issues,53 but this body has little to no formal authority. Certainly the intent of the AFMC Software Maintenance Group is to provide one virtual software mainte- nance function, instead of three geographically separated, competing organizations, and a unified message/face to the customer and Headquarters. Finding 4-8. Weapon system software sustainment is well supported at the three ALCs, but the Air Force has no central governance body to sustain soft- ware, and the various Headquarters staffs are technically ill equipped to deal with software issues. Future Challenges Based on New Aircraft Entering the Inventory The primary issues with the future software enterprise are driven by two long-standing heuristics: “Software is never finished” and “Software never makes the system cost less.” These truisms do not implicate problems with software as a technology, but instead reflect the fact that software can significantly enhance capa - 53 Tom Labrie, 76th Software Maintenance Group (76 SMXG), OO-ALC. 2011. “76 SMXG Over- view.” Presentation to the committee, January 12, 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 124 in the bility and is significantly more flexible to change than physical hardware. Combine that with the growth in dependency discussed earlier in this chapter, and it is easy to conclude that software will be a major and growing cost driver for sustainment of future systems, which must be recognized in planning. Within the Air Force, better policy and guidance for software development, upgrades and modifications, and maintenance must be developed, promulgated to the field, and enforced. The Air Force would benefit from reviewing its corporate oversight of embedded systems software development and sustainment with an eye toward greater risk identification and mitigation, and from enabling corporate (versus command specific) decision making. In addition, given its dependence on software to achieve mission capabilities, the Air Force would benefit from addi- tional senior leader education in this area. The Air Force has developed a very strong weapon system software capability, which can be used to improve future weapon system sustainment. Stable workforce planning will continue to be important because the scope of software update man- ning varies with the amount of modernization in each platform as well as with the scheduling of blocks between platforms. As cited earlier, the software sustainment processes at the ALCs were considered to be on par with the best of industry. Although process maturity is extremely im- portant, technical expertise in real-time systems, concurrency, new programming languages and operating systems, system of systems, networks, communications, and large-scale integration will be equally important to maintain future aircraft systems. Notwithstanding the process improvement efforts and outstanding per- formance on various aircraft systems, such as the F-16, the committee is concerned with how the ALCs will build and retain the technical expertise needed in the indicated areas, particularly given the lack of planning for organic maintenance that seems prevalent in the newest weapon systems. Stated another way, there is an overwhelming learning curve to assuming an organic maintenance load when you have not been involved from the beginning of development. Some in the Air Force may prefer long-term contractor maintenance, but at some undetermined point the contractor workforce will become no longer available or extremely expensive. At that point, there will be no fall-back position because the expertise will not be available internally. Recommendation 4-6. The Air Force should focus on strengthening and re- taining the advanced skill sets needed for the sustainment of new aircraft systems. The facilities and laboratories related to software sustainment are adequate to meet current demands. For future system acquisitions, however, as part of initial program planning, strong consideration must be given to a single government en-
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 125 of tity or contractor SIL per program. This would localize costs and facilitate transfer of software maintenance responsibilities. In addition, it would generally ensure that the SIL equipment and development tools, which are generally commercial products, are current, as opposed to what sometimes occurs in maintenance or- ganizations; namely, the support equipment is baselined at older versions that are no longer supported by the vendor. Within Headquarters Air Force, Headquarters AFMC, AFMC Directorate of Logistics and AFMC Directorate of Engineering, there does not appear to be a senior software counterpart that deals effectively with software. In addition, soft- ware support for weapon systems is underrepresented (i.e., there is no apparent advocate) in the sustainment community, and software maintenance decisions are defaulted to the program offices and therefore largely to the OEMs. Although this may be acceptable, the Air Force has declared software a core maintenance area under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. § 2464. Because the Air Force believes software to be a core maintenance capability, it must be managed and supported accordingly. Recommendation 4-7. The Air Force should review its corporate oversight, management, and support of embedded systems software development and sustainment with foci on (1) greater risk identification and mitigation and (2) enabling Air Force corporate, as opposed to command-specific, decision making. In addition, given Air Force dependence on software to achieve mis- sion capabilities, the Air Force should strongly consider additional education on software sustainment for senior leaders. Access to software development data is vital to proper software sustainment. This includes development of domain expertise with the software and tool sets used in the software development of each platform. Data rights are vital and an issue on virtually all new software workloads; these issues must be considered during acquisition planning to ensure future access for the ALCs.54 The shift from devel- opment to sustainment is currently defined at Milestone C, but it is more a shift from development to sustained block updates—an approach that is not optimum for the new generation of aircraft. A closer partnership between government and contractor throughout the entire development life cycle must be a fundamental part of acquisition planning. Software sustainment planning must begin prior to Milestone A and must have ongoing involvement by the designated sustainment organization throughout the development process. As such, management attention should focus on acquisition/sustainment planning early in the genesis of weapon 54 Karl Rogers, Director, 309th Software Maintenance Group, OO-ALC. “309th Software Mainte - nance Group.” Presentation to the committee, February 1, 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 126 in the systems to balance contractor efforts with the required development of organic capabilities. Recommendation 4-8. The Air Force should pursue a blended partnership between ALCs and contractors throughout the entire software development and sustainment life cycle, commencing before Milestone A. SUSTAINMENT FUNDING The Air Force planning and budgeting processes have the capability to success- fully address the forecasting and distribution of funds at a high level. The Central- ized Asset Management services provided for the Air Force by Headquarters AFMC is a noteworthy improvement. Yet, the budget constraints imposed on the entire Air Force are also felt at the ALCs and impact their abilities to be high-performing, effective, and efficient organizations. Several limitations on spare parts currently exist because of organizational alignment, material practices, and enterprise funding constraints that have pro- nounced impacts at the ALC maintenance levels. These involve cost targets, real- location of priorities for spare parts, and stockage effectiveness targets that fail to realize that parts delays often cause inefficiencies that impact workforce and facility use in a far greater way than the savings created by constraining supplies investment, to say nothing of the direct impacts on material readiness in warfighter operations. As discussed in Chapter 3, the Air Force has invested in plant and equipment extensively over the past 8 years. Nevertheless, select parts of the plant and equip- ment do not meet current needs. Finding 4-9. Despite significant investments, if the ALCs are expected to meet new workloads imported from outside the Air Force repair facilities or to sup- port new technology, additional investment will be required. As noted early in this chapter, there is a mismatch between funded workload in the maintenance departments and funded support personnel such as engineers to provide technical guidance for the work. This situation can only be understood in the sense that funding accounts do not allow technical engineering support to grow or that policy limits hiring engineering personnel and placing them in the production environment with inherent authority to make decisions. There are disconnects between the engineering resources needed to support production and the resources provided. As discussed in more detail in Chapter 2, the FRCSW
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 127 of has a highly qualified engineering cadre immediately available to support depot production lines.55 Although not a funding issue in the traditional sense, the ALCs need an enter- prise management solution. The Air Force is slowly fielding an ERP, but a system is needed as soon as practical, and the Air Force must provide it to the entire sus- tainment community. The impact of not having a system appears to be far greater at the ALCs/AFGLSC because of their total responsibility for fleet support across commands and in some cases across services and foreign military sales. EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF AIR FORCE AIR LOGISTICS CENTERS During the course of the committee’s visits, several “white boards,” flat screen displays, or paper charts were used to reflect the productivity efforts of the people. Although visual aids are commendable, there was no consistent measure of effec- tiveness or efficiency across the ALCs or even within an ALC. At the highest levels, there is a lack of measures and objectives for productivity and effectiveness. The committee was not successful in its search for the “key” metric that would tell the chief executive officer of the ALC, AFMC, or the Air Force how the sustainment process or the industrial operation was performing. A Headquarters AFMC briefing to the committee noted, “Current State Maintenance: AFMC has capacity, personnel and facilities and equipment to sustain legacy systems.”56 The committee disagrees and could not find supporting evidence that legacy systems can be effectively and efficiently supported with current policies and resources. Thus, the committee seriously questions the validity of this statement over the longer term. The ALCs have strategic plans, and in those the committee observed limited metrics for AA and aircraft on-time delivery from production lines. Although the committee saw displays on aircraft status in the work area and delivery times as a center overview, it could not find evidence that these metrics were being pushed to production teams as a whole. In addition, there were no strong plans for recovery when AA or delivery fell below target levels. The committee observed metrics for quality that exceeded the stan- dard. However, for one or all of these, there was little demonstrated awareness at key supervisor or worker levels. Finally, the committee did not see a metric that related the cost of the production to the planned cost or the planned outcome. The committee discussed the AA metric at length. The metric has high utility for operational commanders: Do they have the aircraft they need to execute the war 55 USN. “Fleet Readiness Center Southwest – Roundtable Discussion.” Presentation to the commit- tee, March 29, 2011. 56 Major General Kathleen D. Close, AFMC/A4. “Weapon Systems Sustainment.” Presentation to the committee, December 8, 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 128 in the plans? Therefore, the metric may apply to the overall sustainment community: Is the community at large providing the number of aircraft needed by the war plan? Otherwise, it is not a key performance metric for any manager of the sustainment community. Many argued that the depot maintenance piece, the field maintenance piece, and the supply piece all build the AA metric. There was enough evidence to suggest that the many pieces of the metric result in no one fully taking account- ability and responsibility for the performance. The committee universally came to believe that AA is fragmented, and its accountability is such that it is not a measure- able performance criterion for any single sustainment manager. Maintenance depots production metrics were discussed during the visit to the FRCSW where the committee observed excellent quality, cost, and schedule mea- sures. The method of measuring and portraying quality results is much like that in the ALCs. That is, customers are surveyed and the results graphically displayed. Figure 4-14 depicts cost and schedule metrics for two Navy vertical lift platforms. These metrics immediately resonated with the committee because they por- trayed at a glance how the aircraft production lines were doing on cost and sched- ule. The use of the “0” or planned line as the baseline allows most people to immediately see where the successes have been and what shortfalls have occurred. The charts show performance by each platform as well as by mean performance for the year. Furthermore, these charts are a key part of a bi-weekly Friday standup session with the FRCSW commander that highlights the production results since the last meeting. These standup meetings are held in the quarterdeck of FRCSW and are well attended by many levels of key managers. The charts are constantly on display in a public area. Finding 4-10. Within the sustainment environment, there is a lack of focus on clear, well-, and widely understood key performance metrics, specifically for cost, schedule, and performance (e.g., cost, delivery schedules, quality), that drive specific actions to improve performance across the sustainment enterprise. Recommendation 4-9. The Air Force should develop key metrics for sustain- ment that flow to ALC commanders and that highlight the success or shortcom- ings of ALC activities, drive appropriate behavior for the workforce, and allow Air Force leadership to assess the health of the enterprise and the adequacy of resourcing for the sustainment process regardless of organizational affiliation. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS This chapter evaluated whether the ALCs are adequately resourced in light of the severity of past and current Air Force budgets. As directed by the TOR, the
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Assessment AiR foRce AiR logistics centeRs 129 of evaluation reaches beyond the mere allocation of monies to support sustainment operations at the ALCs. In fact, the flow of funds for depot maintenance and for the Air Force’s flying hour programs has been adequate, although this may not be the case in the near term. Nevertheless, the organizational structure of the ALCs is not resourced adequately in that executive leadership does not have full command or control of the ALC enterprise. To a serious extent, the supply chain causes great inefficiencies in the depot maintenance and parts repair efforts. Mismatches remain between support to production activities and the growth of requirements at the production level. Im- portantly, a modern resource management tool, although promised as “coming” is not available, despite being desperately needed. Finally, the only defined measure of effectiveness and efficiency relates to aircraft availability, but far more organi- zations than ALCs impact aircraft availability. In summary, the ALCs are making it work, but the true full spectrum of resources needed for effective and efficient organizations are not yet available.
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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 130 in the H-53 PMD FY2011 Performance Data FIGURE 4-14 Cost and schedule metrics for the H-53 and AV-8B. SOURCE: Gregory Mann, United States Navy, Fleet Readi- ness Center Southwest, Industrial Business Operations Department. Personal communication to the committee on May 16, 2011.
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ASSeSSment Air Force Air LogiSticS centerS 131 oF AV-8B PMD FY2011 Performance Data FIGURE 4-14 continued