With regard to readiness, one of the biggest degraders to readiness is the ability to get industry partners on contract in a timely matter. This is true for both spares and repairs. Are you tracking the time it takes to get industry partners on contract and then the time it takes to subsequently get those repairs or spares out to the fleet? What have you put in place to speed up that timeline?
(Answer provided by VADM Peters)
One of my strategic imperatives is to reduce the procurement cycle time (from contract award) by 10% each year. I challenged the entire NAVAIR Enterprise, including program managers, engineers, testers, logisticians and business experts, as well as our industry partners to achieve this target, and we have made impressive progress. Total cycle time to award for FY19 competitive procurements reflects a 20% annual decrease since FY16, and we expect FY20 performance to maintain that trend. We continue to work closely with industry to achieve comparable results with our sole source awards, while deploying advances in machine learning and other innovative tools to ensure our internal evaluation timeline is lean and efficient.
We attribute much of our success in competitive cycle time to increased use of Multiple Award, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (MAC IDIQ) contracts. This allows NAVAIR to leverage the streamlined FAR 16.505 (Fair Opportunity Ordering) procedures for the acquisition of both hardware and services.
For example, our Fleet Readiness Centers have used Multiple Award IDIQ contracts in two key areas: Contract Maintenance, Modification, Aircrew, and Related Services (CMMARS) with 20 industry partners; and Kits, Recovery, Augmentation, Components, and Engines (KRACEn) with 42 industry partners. Historically, a standalone competitive CLS contract timeline has demonstrated an average cycle time of between 18-31 months from requirement development to contract award. Under CMMARS and KRACEn MACs, we have seen that timeline reduced to 3-13 months.
Thoughts on longer term, "commercial-like" sustainment contracts vs. 3-5 Year PBL contracts that are in place today?
Answer provided by VADM Peters
Limits imposed on the duration of contracts come from a desire to ensure the benefits of continued competition, particularly as weapon systems transition into sustainment. This premise informs FAR 17.204(e), which generally limits the term of service contracts to 5 years. However, DFARS 217.204(e)(i) gives NAVAIR the authority to award certain service contracts (to include PBLs), with an extended duration, if an ordering instrument type contract is awarded. In particular, under DFARS 217.204, the initial ordering period for such a task order or delivery contract is up to 5 years and can be extended to a maximum of 10 years. NAVAIR has used this flexibility for contracts focused on improving readiness and availability rates. This practice, coupled with increased use of MAC IDIQ contracts, ensures the fleet and the taxpayer continue to reap the benefits of recurring competition.
Both the CMMARS and KRACEn MACs provide for award of orders with extended periods of performance (PoP). For example, two out of the ten currently awarded CMMARS orders have PoPs exceeding five years, one with seven years and another with nine years. While the KRACEn MAC has no orders exceeding five years to date, the MAC does allow for that opportunity if appropriate for the specific requirement.
The ISCM Tableau App that provides single source of "truth" - is this the Aircraft Maintenance Data Base (AMDB) that Mas Masiello and NAVAIR 6.0 developed or something different?
Answer provided by NAVAIR Sustainment Group
Hearing "Ops/Maintenance Balance." Regarding readiness, what is our goal? Where do we make distinctions with Personnel such as in training, proficiency, and currency, or Material, such as recent jet status focus? Up jets on deployed assets or up jets everywhere? WWII Operational Research would suggest you get more hours applying fly till it breaks and such was a better mindset for convoy screening while restricting flights to have more up airframes ready on call was better for alerts. Think Battle of Atlantic better one way, Battle of Britain better the other way. Our recent drive to be better than 80% seems silly when compared to those convoy lessons. (See Blackett's War).
The challenges we have always experienced in Naval Aviation of achieving a good balance between Ops and maintenance requirements are well and alive today. Partially because the focus in these two areas tends to shift depending on where we are in the Fleet Readiness Training Plan (FRTP) of deploying/expeditionary units. Regarding our (material) readiness goals, the Naval Aviation Enterprise continues to refine what that number should be by aircraft platform, as we have shifted from an 80% readiness across the board to a more "surgical precision" approach/metric we are calling "Need." Navy and Marine Corps Leadership are keenly aware that we may not enjoy the level of resourcing we have experienced in the past few years, and the determination on how and where to apply those resources is a hot topic of debate and actions at the TYCOM and SYSCOM level staffs.
The statement related to convoy screening while restricting flights to have more up airframes may have worked for WWII type aircraft, and based on the troubleshooting and maintenance of the day. However, when we consider that the NAMP was first written 1959 and the NATOPS was first written in 1961 it's obvious we have had to evolve these directives as the weapons systems became more complex. Even with those efforts to keep up, the preponderance of maintenance techniques we use today are primarily designed to support 3rd. Generation aircraft platforms, while we are operating 4th and 5th generation aircraft. These higher generation aircraft have tighter tolerances, more demanding flight profiles and require more sophisticated maintenance procedures than we could have ever have imagined during WWII. Bottom line, the complexity of aircraft platforms today, coupled with a dynamic operational/mission requirements have shown us that establishing a uniform or "across the board" readiness goal is extremely challenging and perhaps unachievable. The approach has become more customized to maximize airframe and engine availability, especially for (priority) deployed units, to ultimately generate trained aircrew and maintenance personnel ready to fight, fly and lead.
Picture below depicts the impacts of established NAE initiatives, including improvement in maintenance practices (NAMP) and NATOPS procedures to reduce mishaps per flight hours.
Mr. Blauw mentioned that aviation readiness accounts were funded at historically high levels recently, and MC jet numbers increased significantly as a result. If you're bracing for those accounts to be funded at lower levels in upcoming years, how can you prevent those MC numbers from dropping again to dangerous levels? He also mentioned a priority to avoid readiness degradation, but also need to prepare for fiscal austerity and improve resource prioritization. How are these three priorities being addressed simultaneously? How does data analytics play into this strategy?
Answer provided by SES Blauw
We have an obligation as a Marine Corps to maintain high levels of aircrew readiness and healthy material condition of our aircraft in support of the MAGTF as the Nation's Force in Readiness, regardless of funding levels. Our goal should be to manage readiness and resource prioritization with this in mind in order to successfully fight through a fiscally challenging environment. Healthy funding levels in our readiness and enabler accounts over the last few years have been essential to readiness recovery which we are still in the midst of. We will need to balance operational requirements and flying squadron maintenance capacity to make the most efficient use of the resources we have. We are doing this through
a variety of initiatives such as employment of a data analytics driven Maintenance Capacity Model and several initiatives designed to improve maintenance management training and increasing touch time on aircraft to build our experience base. Additionally, we will see more involvement in many of our Naval Aviation Enterprise initiatives such the Naval Sustainment
System which has been critical to readiness improvements across Naval Aviation utilizing commercial best practices.
Please address the status and future of PLM/MAGIC CARPET…
Response provided by PMA 265
The Precision Landing Mode (PLM) is a revolutionary improvement to aircraft carrier landings, which provides improved safety, efficiency and success rates in recovering fixed-wing aircraft. This innovative technology eases pilot workload, improves overall recovery time, reduces tanker requirements, and enhances Naval Aviation efficacy, which improves the offensive capability of the carrier strike group. The flight control algorithms for PLM were developed by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
The latest iteration of PLM software adds capability that allows pilots to fly the system with a single angle of attack (AOA) probe failure, in gain override, or with an Inertial Navigation System (INS) failure, providing an extremely robust and redundant product.
All F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft assigned to fleet squadrons meet prerequisite requirements for Full PLM Redundancy. The PLM fielding plan is in development by the TYCOM, with capability delivery beginning this Fall.
PLM will increase safety margins and improve CAT I pilot production.
The range of our striking-power projection-capability remains a major issue in defending the roles and mission of the CVAs. What are the plans to answer this criticism of our carriers?
Answers provided by N98
CVN’s represent the 11 most survivable airfields in the world with the ability to command and control more water and airspace than any other element of the DOD. The lethality of the CVN is provided by its adaptable and resilient Carrier Air Wing. The Carrier Air Wing, with organic tanking provided by the MQ-25, can hold maritime and land targets at risk from stand-off ranges while delivering ordinance with tempo and volume. The Air Wing of the Future (AWOTF) will include F/A-XX, which will become the pacing capability for air power in the great power competition. Combined with the improved capabilities of the Ford Class CVN that CVN/CVW team are unparalleled.
What does the E-2D bring to the fight in comparison with the C? As a future Air Weapons Control Officer in the RCAF I am curious.
Answer provided by N98
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye represents the first “Fifth Gen” airborne command & control aircraft. It provides a two-generation leap in sensor and mission management systems technology beyond the E-2C Hawkeye 2000. Major improvements include the APY-9 radar with its improvements in target detection and tracking, especially in littoral environments; an aerial refueling capability that will extend the operational range and endurance of all USN E-2D aircraft; and an advanced mission computer, display and network systems that improve multi-domain situational awareness for both Carrier Strike Group commanders and the joint force.
Much has been made of the carrier's short legs when considering the range of anti-ship missile threat. Question for Adm. Harris, does the MQ-25 give you enough range to maintain the relevance in an A2-AD environment? Would the Navy benefit from an unmanned carrier-based bomber? What do you need to keep the air wing relevant well into the future against high-end adversaries?
Answers provided by N98
CVN’s represent the 11 most survivable airfields in the world with the ability to control more water and airspace than any other element of the DOD. The lethality of the CVN is the Carrier Air Wing. The Carrier Air Wing, with organic tanking provided by the MQ-25, can hold maritime and land targets at risk from stand-off distances from threat cruise missiles if desired. The Air Wing of the Future (AWOTF) will include F/A-XX which will become the pacing capability for air power in the great power competition.
The JPALS program was originally meant to replace TACAN and SPIN 42. The program has been reduced in scope and from what I understand is only applicable now to UAVs. What is being planned for a TACAN replacement and to provide tactical aviators with some type of precision approach capabilities?
Answers provided by N98
JPALS was never designed to replace TACAN. In 2013 a Decision Memorandum was issued endorsing the requirements for JPALS aboard CVN and LHA/D class ship to support future complements of F-35B/C aircraft and MQ-25A air vehicles. This de-scoped JPALS from a shore and sea system to a sea-based only system.
The US Navy currently supports 234 TACAN systems (beacon and antennas) ashore and aboard air-capable ships. Beginning in FY-22, TACAN antenna replacement begins to complement the already refurbished and installed URN-32 beacons.
Precision Approach Radar (PAR) and Instrument Landing System (ILS) are currently the primary enablers for precision approach and recovery. OPNAV N98 has committed resources to procure and install 36 new PAR systems across the Fleet. As of today, 5 new systems have been installed with a goal of having 15 installed by the end of CY-21. ILS has only recently become a program of record for the Fleet (13 non-POR ILS units currently support the DoN Fleet). As such, 28 systems are planned for procurement. NAS Patuxent River was recently outfitted with an ILS. Additionally, the ILS installation at NAS Whidbey Island is underway and should be ready for flight inspection by October 2020. A shore-based Instrument Carrier Landing System (ICLS), widely known as the “bullseye”, provides a precision approach capability to ICLS equipped aircraft. ICLS will be installed at MCAS Iwakuni beginning this year. The Navy procured four more systems which will be installed over the next few years.
What is the NAE's view of the Reserves' role in readiness? If the Reserves are a cost-efficient provider of surge capability and capacity, and a means of preserving valuable skills in aviation, why are Reserve hardware units consistently looked at for divestment as a means of cost savings? Is there a hard deck for Reserve hardware units, and are we already there?
Answer provided by CNAFR
The Navy Reserve continues to offer capability at a reduced cost. Within the CNAFR lifelines, we no longer think about ourselves through the binary lens of Strategic Reserve and Fleet Representative aircraft. This is a view from yesteryear and no longer matches the vision for the Carrier Air Wing of the Future.
I think of Navy Air Reserve this way: we provide strategic depth and operational capability. With our 5 reserve expeditionary squadron, we continue to meet Fleet demand on our scheduled mobilized deployments. With our NUFEA (Navy Unique Fleet Essential Aircraft) we continue to operate at 104% or so to meet navy demand in providing lift and navy support for personnel and cargo. In both fleets (C-40 and C-130) our complement of aircraft are below the wartime requirement.
With regard to how I look at the future, I think in terms of sustainment and growth. In sustainment, I think in terms of sustaining our 5 expeditionary squadrons and adversary fleet. I include recapitalization in that sustainment bin when talking recapping to P-8 from P-3 in MPRA, F-16 and Super Hornet in adversary. When I talk about growth, I am speaking directly to standing up a new adversary squadron to support Lemoore adversary requirements and increasing the C-130 fleet to match wartime requirement in medium cargo lift.
I am sure the coming budgetary conversations will continue to shape my thinking, but I hope I have answered your question. In those budgetary conversations, I continue to stress on a point of fact that CNAFR delivers capability and readiness at a reduced cost.
If COVID has taught us anything, it is that our NUFEA (C-40/C-130) fleet is vital to meeting personnel and cargo lift demand for our navy, as is persistent adversary services to ensure our Carrier Air Wings and Fleet Replacement Squadrons get the adversary support they need to ensure readiness and strategic depth across the force.
How will those in an in-residence JPME tour compete against someone taking a post-DH tour at a staff job?
Answer provided by PERS-43
Selection boards review each officer’s totality of record and sustained superior performance is valued. IRGE is required for all officers YG-15 and junior prior to taking Major Command and all selection board precepts emphasize the importance of continued education. Post DH is one of the identified times in an aviation officer’s career that can generally facilitate in residence education and officers do screen for their next milestone out of War College and other graduate programs. You are encouraged to reach out to your Detailer to discuss the best options for career management.
If Graduate education is a requirement, and traditionally most aviators leave the service at their MSR (i.e. before DH), why not make graduate education available before the DH tour, and make the DH tour a required service obligation for in-residence education? That would take someone to approximately 15 years of service, at which point you can count on that aviator most likely staying active through 20 years and into a command tour.
Answer provided by PERS-43
Most aviators who choose to separate prior to 20 years do so at MSR, but a majority of aviators do actually stay past MSR. That being said, the policy driving obligated service requirements for Grad-Ed are not controlled by PERS-43 and apply to all service members, not just aviation officers. With the development of OPNAV N7 and the Office of the Chief Learning Officer, there are ever increasing opportunities for Graduate Education earlier in our careers. As an example, LGEP was a pilot program this year, and there are more programs in the pipeline awaiting approval.
What are the three main reasons that aviation officers take the bonus and Stay Navy?
Answer provided by PERS-43
Significant research has focused on why aviators leave the military at their minimum service requirement. The commonly listed factors negatively affecting retention include: pay disparity with the civilian sector, frequent deployment schedule, burdensome administrative requirements, and unfavorable duty stations. For those officers who choose to stay, we assess that these factors are outweighed by interest in continuing to be a part of naval aviation, service to country, and a positive view of the military retirement system.
What have the PFI selection rates been over the past couple years?
Answer provided by PERS-43
PFI selection rates are heavily dependent on slating/IP manning requirements that are determined by CNATRA Placement Officers and PFI Program Manager. PERS-43 does not publish selection rates for PFI because the requirements vary greatly between communities and designators.
At Hook '18, data was put out that graduates of TPS and TOPGUN, the TacAir community's "patch-wearers" were getting out of the Active component of the Navy at a higher rate than the non-patch-wearers. Has that trend continued, improved, or worsened over the last two years? Is PERS-43 considering any targeted retention programs for those aviators? Follow-up question- How is PERS-43 isolating the effect of COVID-19 on retention against other Sailor 2025 initiatives such as Professional Flight Instructor Program, FSEP, or CIP?
Answer provided by PERS-43
With the contraction of the HSC community, do you expect there to an increase in HSC out quotas for lateral transfer? What other effects do you expect to see?
Answer provided by PERS-43