TFD Group Transformation for Effective Sustainment Conference
Today’s edition of DID is rather foreshortened, as I’ve just returned from the “Transformation for Effective Sustainment” conference in Monterey, California. DID has consistently covered issues like the emergence of through-life support contracts in Britain, maintenance overhangs and impending budgetary shortfalls, et. al. over the past year. The influence these trends exert on military procurement will continue to rise in the coming year.
The Tools for Decision Group’s conference speakers were:
- Major General Roger Nadeau, Commander, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. Direct and honest. Expanded on his February comments re: the urban fight and Future Combat Systems. Meanwhile, note these contract end points: HMMWV (Oct 2006), FMTV (Nov 2008), HEMTT (Sept 2008). Their successors represent a major opportunity for all sides – and technology insertion will remain a big issue across the Army’s entire vehicle fleet. We’ll be coming back to him (and vice-versa).
- Air Vice-Marshal Nigel Bairsto, Director General Logistics Transformation, UK MOD. Played a significant role in many of the new British approaches to contracting, support, and defense planning we’ve been covering over the past year. After listening to him, one can see why. The results of our interview will appear in a future article, which aims to shed a bit more light on the “how.”
- Air Vice-Marshal Steve Nicholl, Director, Military Aircraft System Support, BAE Systems. Here’s what it looks like from the other side of that fence. BAE is fostering a number of corporate competencies and building intellectual property in order to cope. They’ve also learned the difference between the Forrest Gump, Scotty, and Dirk Gently approaches to fault (“arisings”) analysis. We’ll explain that if the Air Vice-Marshall allows us.
- Mr. Dennis Dellinger, President and COO, Stewart & Stevenson (Armor Holdings) on “Advanced Diagnostics and Prognostics.” The FMTV isn’t just a simple truck; a lot of back-end work went into its impressive reliability percentages, and he shared some of it.
- Ken Blemel, Vice President of R&D, Management Sciences, Inc. Wiring in vehicles adds more weight than it needs to, is failure-prone, and is maddening to diagnose for faults when it does fail. What if you could fix all three problems plus a few more besides, raising readiness rates and performance while saving money? Sometimes, getting smarter about the “little things” like wiring can add up to a big thing. Thanks, DARPA!
- Kent Stephens, CEO, SRATS, Inc. Gen. Schwarzkopf (ret.) called him “the surgeon of funded impediments.” Told some entertaining stories derived from a lifetime of significant work in the industry, with a serious point underneath: the impact of planning to reduce causes of failure as one’s key focus (removing that which you know should not be), as opposed to pushing to increase success percentages. If that strikes you as negative, he notes that the effects are not – indeed, it usually results in a major unleashing of initiative. This may have been the most interesting presentation in a very strong lineup.