Navy readiness challenges shared with Aviation leaders

By Bonnie Koenig DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Aviation leadership and strategic partners came together for the annual Senior Leadership Conference Feb. 7 - 9 on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Navy Capt. Timothy Pfannenstein, Logistics and Industrial Operations executive director, Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland, presented Navy and Marine Corps readiness challenges on the first day of the conference.

In keeping with this year’s SLC theme, “turn it up a notch,” Pfannenstein shared intelligence on the Naval Aviation Enterprise and the Navy’s plan to improve readiness by moving from being reactive [reacting to known issues], to proactive [managing known risks], to predictive [anticipating and precluding risks] through data analysis.

He spoke on the Navy’s perspective relative to NAVAIR’s structure, on maintenance relationships and the partnerships among stakeholders in the Naval Aviation Enterprise. He also described how the NAE’s concerted efforts in developing predictive tools to assist in delivering more assets on time and move the readiness needle in a positive direction.

“We need to track and act as the opportunities arise in order to move the readiness needle. We need to become more predictive and get in front of readiness issues before they impact the flight line,” said Pfannenstein. “I am supply’s biggest fan … but, between us [maintainers/logisticians] there is much more work to do.”

In understanding where readiness can break down and in order to find remedies, Pfannesstein described the connections in the entire aircraft, engine and component overhaul, and support system as the relationships between E,L,M, P, and U, [engineering, logistics, material, producer and the user]. He described how those relationships  and the role each entity plays within the support infrastructure can impact readiness outcomes. He described the generation of readiness as a ‘team sport.’

“The Navy is shifting its focus from out of reporting aircraft, which data shows has stabilized, to those areas where we are seeing a continuing degradation in readiness,” said Pfannenstein. “That degradation is showing in non-mission capable supply as well as in non-mission-capable maintenance measures.  The NAE focus is on both understanding why and, as resources allow, addressing the issues appropriately.”

He said they are measuring gaps in maintenance and supply and evaluating trending issues in order to be more predictive.

Pfannenstein said to reduce the time an aircraft is down, they are working a variety of initiatives including condition-based maintenance, where, by coupling engineering and logistics efforts and reassessing component performance, maintenance schedules along with lower inventory demands can take pressure off of the supply system.

Pfannenstein said NAVAIR is tracking and acting upon opportunities as they arise to move the readiness needle. He summarized with a math problem stating, “RBA [ready-based aircraft] = Ct [cycle time] + In [inventory] + Re [reliability]. He said the equation speaks to what we do and the relationship each part has on the RBA as well as on mission capability. Understanding this relationship, it becomes apparent where one can focus resources and efforts to achieve the best readiness outcome possible.

He stressed the need to “connect, connect, connect,” and recognized our co-dependencies within the DLA/Navy/Marine Corps partnerships and the need to measure outcomes that improve readiness. Pfannenstein ended by noting, “Warfighters cannot do their job if we don’t support them using the best methods possible.”