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It’s hard to turn a battleship on a dime, but DoD is changing course. 

By Steve Geary | 05/05/2019 | 4:29 PM

Last September, then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a memo directing the military services to achieve a dramatic improvement in the readiness rate on four key aircraft.  The memo directed an 80% readiness rate be achieved for the F-35, F-22, F-16 and F-18 fleets by September of 2019.  As icing on the cake, the Secretary also directed a reduction in operating and maintenance costs for those aircraft.

So after more than six months, how is the military doing?

On May 1, in remarks to a House Appropriations Committee panel, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan hedged.  As reported in Defense News, Real Clear Politics, and several other outlets, Secretary Shanahan said the F-18 is tracking to meet the 80 percent readiness rate benchmark, but it remains unclear to him if the F-35, F-22 or F-16 will be able to meet the mark.

Achieving an 80% readiness rate may not seem like a high hurdle to a supply chain professional operating in the commercial sector.  In the land of fielding leading edge – or in the case of the F-22 and F-35, bleeding edge – systems, it is an aggressive goal.  Progress has been made.  Supply chains have been streamlined.  Perhaps getting to the goal for some of the platforms will roll into 2020, but the military’s progress merits respect. 

We’ll check at the end of the Fiscal Year.



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About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


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