Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) was a perfect host location for the 2019 CTMA Partners Meeting. Not only were they celebrating their 100th anniversary, but their focus on aviation maintenance was the perfect backdrop to this year’s meeting theme of CTMA—Enabling Maintenance for the Next 100 Years. Over 150 people attended the two-day event from industry, academia, and government. The meeting included panel discussions, competitions, table top displays, networking opportunities, and informative and motivational keynote addresses.
Mr. Kenneth Watson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Materiel Readiness, kicked off the meeting with inspiration about readiness outcomes.
Other keynote speakers were: Amy Cannello, Requirements and Capabilities Director for Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC) and Steve Morani, Director of Logistics, Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base. The opening remark session was emceed by Debbie Lilu, CTMA Program Director.
Over and over again, we heard that it’s not just one person’s responsibility, but all of us working together. The goal is to speed up technology transition time, remove barriers, and raise the tolerance for risk. Outcome focused, it is time to look inward and ask, “What are we doing?” “How are we changing?” and “How are we working this process better, together?”
We were reminded that in many cases legacy equipment is all we have while we wait for new acquisitions to come online. Therefore, we must accelerate material availability and restore our systems across the board.
Collaboration between the services is the key
Last year the DoD spent $78B in maintenance and sustainment activities. Another $1.5B was spent in supply metrics. These metrics can drive efficiencies and effectiveness and inform a more proactive organic industrial base. Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Advanced Analytics, and Additive Manufacturing are collaborative bright spots for future maintenance and sustainment technologies.
But no one forgot the individual warfighter. The attendees were asked to not only improve productivity, but also the safety for maintenance artisans. Day in and day out they work in dangerous environments, performing repetitive actions. Protecting, supporting, and training the artisans is a top priority to ensure a pipeline of a proficient workforce. New apprenticeship programs are underway to provide advanced skill sets that will combine education with hands-on experience.
Road to Readiness
Last year, almost 470 aircraft, 3,661 engines/mods, and 39,965 depot components were repaired at Fleet Readiness Centers in 13 states and four countries. The Navy’s aviation maintenance needs are great, and COMFRC is focused on investing in the workforce and infrastructure – both facilities and equipment.
“Our goal is to have the best-in-class repair facilities and processes to reduce turn-around time which is vital to achieving readiness,” says keynote speaker Amy Cannello. “We are investing in our depots and working to reverse the decline they have seen because of constrained budgets and competing priorities. With Sustainment Vision 2020 (SV2020) we will also change the way we do business and prioritize based on greatest need.”
The current sustainment model is the Naval Sustainment System, which implements industry best practices to recover readiness, increases mission capability, and sustains a model that will allow the Navy to more effectively project power. This takes place at the intersection of SV2020, industry best practices, and other Naval Aviation Enterprise initiatives. To get there they ensure we are capable of fighting today’s and tomorrow’s fight, enable combat capable aircraft and aircrew now and into the future, and optimize all resources through an integrated, “Globally-Managed Sustainment Environment.”
“We can achieve this vision by using our enablers: hiring, training and maintaining a proficient workforce; improving infrastructure, applying digital transformation, and improving our processes and supply chain,” says Cannello.