By Gregg Sparks
Weapon system product support within the Department of Defense (DOD) and US Air Force (USAF) has experienced significant changes over the past decade. Today, the USAF aims to ensure product support is aligned to an enterprise vision and the intent is to organize, train and equip the enterprise to achieve a set of desired-state objectives aligned with this vision. The AF Product Support Enterprise Vision document (July 13) document, released in July 2013, documents the USAF leadership’s approach to future product support planning.
In short, the vision states:
“Affordable warfighter readiness delivered through optimized Air Force product support enterprise capabilities.”
Five tenets bound the approach:
- Enterprise Mindset. In every aspect of product support planning and execution we must use an enterprise mindset.
- Flexibility. Product support solutions and strategies must be flexible and responsive, adapting to ever-changing conditions impacting system life cycles and enabling optimized use of product support enterprise capabilities—while balancing affordability and minimizing life cycle costs.
- Transparency. Product support enterprise decision-making processes and performance must be transparent, timely, and informed by enterprise-wide information technology (IT) solutions.
- Collaboration. The product support enterprise must continually assess and leverage the best mix of industry and service partnerships and encourage continuous collaboration among functions, programs, and process owners across the enterprise.
- Innovation. Innovation must be fostered throughout the enterprise on both systems and sustainment infrastructure.
The vision is supported by 31 desired-state objectives which are divided into four categories:
- Product Support Management (PSM)
- Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- Product Support Engineering (PSE)
- Maintenance Management (MM)
As always, it will take years for the USAF to move toward this vision as product support managers (PSMs), program managers (PMs) and program executive officers (PEOs) guide their programs into the future.