Must support realistic virtual Job Sites to test agent behaviours.. The architecture should support construction of very responsive physical and behavioural mission space and stand in for the challenging real world counterparts in which agents are designed to function. This is a particular strength of an architecture that incorporates state-of-the-art simulation capabilities.
Simulation Models are essential to giving orders directed at deploying complex interdependent systems and to communicate among team members and stakeholders.
Simulation provides a means to explore concepts, system characteristics and alternatives; open up the multi-agent trade space; facilitate informed decisions and assess overall system performance.
New technologies like automation and robotics, accompanied by upgrades to facilities and infrastructure, have enhanced productivity at Marine Corps Depots. As productivity and efficiency increase we are seeing corresponding decreases in labour, maintenance, and operational costs.
The depot readiness enterprise recently transitioned to business systems that use standard, industry recognised processes. The Logistics Modernisation Program is built on off-the-shelf tools for Resource Planning and shop floor integration.
These tools give us complete visibility on manufacturing and service operations, a capability we now have for the first time. These applications also help us improve the accuracy of our work orders; engage in more efficient production scheduling; enable interaction with our diverse vendor supply chain and reduce delays for parts.
These capabilities are increasing the speed at which materiel reaches the warfighter, and provides Marines with true “factory to foxhole” asset visibility/tracking. Depot enterprise is executing a number of supply chain initiatives to improve its effectiveness, including improving demand forecasting accuracy and imposing tougher performance standards on suppliers. These efforts create ability to purchase, manufacturer, and repair critical parts required to support warfighting equipment.
“Operators want to know capability has been fully characterised, so not only do they know what it does, but they know what it doesn’t do – equally important to them when they take it into combat.”
“When we deliver that capability to them on Day 1 it’s fully integrated with the environment they’re expecting to utilise it in, which is done poorly, and “give them a system on Day 1 that they can fully train with. Fully train with, 100-percent of the capability we’re giving them.
Currently we’re telling them what it can do, but typically we also go, ‘don’t worry, your training system, your simulator tools, it’s an iteration or two behind, but it’ll catch up.’ Well, it usually doesn’t catch up because we keep rolling the operational tools but the training tools comes behind.”
Successful implementation of model-based systems engineering would solve the integration and training problems, as well as reduce the time and burden required to design, vet, redesign, and test and evaluate new planes, ships, weapons and more.
First, program offices need to sit down with operators and understand the requirement on a tactical level: what mission needs to be accomplished, what capability is needed, what threat is being countered, how will the system be used, who will use it, and more. If that information is all included in a computer model, NAVAIR can insert a notional placeholder aircraft or weapon into the model and pass it along to industry to actually engineer.
“We’ve got a model of the threat; we’ve got a model of our blue forces, we got environmental models, whether I’m operating in an electromagnetic warfare spectrum or in the acoustic spectrum under the water; it’s all done with models.”
Reliability metrics captured through the maintenance process can be compared, using reliability modeling, to specified system reliability. Those components that are critical reliability drivers can then be submitted for review to determine the most cost-effective risk mitigation strategies.
Must focus on optimising maintenance workload tracking across the enterprise and at Sustainment Centre level across all complexes by serving as a single entry point to outside customers with capability to identify workload capabilities and shortfalls across the enterprise and use this information to pursue new/repatriated workload.
Description attribute focuses on the technology and processes to source and approve/certify the correct parts, where and when needed, delivered timely and at cost, regardless of the source of procurement. Sources are Logistics contract repair, local manufacturing, “the boneyard” or Maintenance/Regeneration Group, surplus sources, and Defense or commercial suppliers.
Readiness Tool allows top brass to determine which battalions and gear are most prepared for battle.
Marine Corps is experimenting with artificial intelligence to improve the way it deploys its forces and spot potential weaknesses years in advance.
The Marines built a tool that crunches data on personnel and equipment to measure how prepared individual battalions are for combat. The tool could ultimately help top brass deploy some 186,000 active-duty Marines and countless pieces of military hardware.
Allocating the service’s resources is an imperfect science. Leaders map out deployment strategies years or even decades in advance, but situations will invariably arise that throw a wrench in those plans.
Planners are constantly forced to “reshuffle the deck” as crises flare up in different places and figuring out which units to move around is a complicated process. Numerous factors—training, deployment history, equipment readiness and others—affect how prepared a group is for a given situation.
Today planners rely on spreadsheets, whiteboards and basic applications to track readiness and manage forces, but artificial intelligence can offer them a better understanding of the resources at their disposal and the long-term effects of the decisions they make.
The tech crunches both structured and unstructured data from multiple force management applications to create a real-time image of how prepared each unit is for combat. The tool specifically aims to build a five-year management plan for the Marine infantry battalions.
Tool has two primary functions: It flags the units that are most ready for action and explains why others come up short. Armed with that knowledge, commanders can proactively train and invest in less prepared groups before they fall even further behind.
“A lot of times Marines only invest more when the problem arises. Now they can see it ahead of time and say ‘OK, we’re going to take action now to prevent that from occurring.’”
The tool sheds light on how deployment decisions will affect forces in the long run. By analyzing historical trends along with real-time data, the tool could show how a unit’s readiness would change if it were, for instance, moved to a new location or given additional resources.
Marines are also building a separate AI system that ranks course of action plans based on those extrapolations, which could one day be merged with the readiness system.
“You integrate that all together and you get a full view of readiness across your force. Now you can really make some data-driven decisions.”
The next stage of the effort will include parts of the Marines’ aviation and logistics units, bringing about half branch into the purview of the program. With that additional data, the AI would further refine its processing rules to deliver better results.
So artificial intelligence is tasked with managing the particular deployments of troops in battle, moving them around in new and unexpected ways.
One way that future might manifest is by looking at a place where AI already manages workforce inventory-- like a warehouse stocking system, a process in which items are unloaded wherever there is space in a warehouse and then scanned into a computer system than can track where the item is located.
When it comes time to retrieve an item for delivery, the same computer system directs warehouse workers to the most efficient route for finding the item, which could be stowed throughout the warehouse.
When modeling the warehouse system, it is interesting to consider how AI, given the same objectives as a commander, might organise and direct forces to achieve them.
“Why would an AI allocate forces in distinct areas of the battlefield? It could intermingle them and manage them at a granular level. Its categories are way more numerous, in the way that warehouse AI manages categories at the shelf level.
Instead of distinct groupings of armour, air support, infantry, and artillery, a system run by artificial intelligence and managing a battle could coordinate a single helicopter with a pair of howitzers and an infantry platoon, directly grouping each in the same way that a warehouse worker finds an assortment of items to place into the same package.
“Anytime we’re on the road, our job, maintenance wise, is to provide safe and reliable jets for the pilots to accomplish their mission. Every new location presents a different challenge in how we get the job done, but the end goal for providing a safe jet for a pilot never changes. What does change is the environment in which we operate in.”
“Every exercise you go on is different, and it can be hard to start off. It could be not having the parts we need on hand, or not knowing how the base operates to get the support we need. Over time you figure out how to acquire some of that on site, what to bring along yourself and how to solve a problem before it becomes one.”
Here we consider how AI systems could be useful to a typical work order job of launch and recovery of aircraft, engine maintenance and servicing of life-saving equipment-- just a few of dozens of tasks Troops are expected to accomplish within a full day.
“We learn to operate in new environments, out here we’ve adapted our operations to give the best support possible. Maintenance is maintenance, our job never changes, but how we execute the mission does.”
“Our main mission is to enable successful sorties by generating aircraft parts, ultimately maintaining our full spectrum readiness. Our team encounters new repairs that force changes in direction and orders, but they all adapt and constantly find ways to make sure the job gets done.”
Maintaining the aging aircraft can be challenging as some parts are no longer commercially produced and the Fabrication Flight must collaborate and innovate to construct parts on their own.
“We all need each other in order to complete a task and make sure operations are done correctly. “Everything revolves in a circle – sheet metals technicians hand over parts to metals technicians who follow their technical order before sending to nondestructive inspection to make sure the piece is good for use on an aircraft.”
To display the teamwork necessary, the Troops walked us through the Fabrication Flight process.
Sheet metals technicians , kick off operations by receiving technical orders for aircraft repairs. Troops survey the technical order and pull a thin, malleable sheet from their collection. The sheet is then cut to the specific measurements and handed off to a metals technician to be heat treated in a large oven.
"On our side we handle breaking the metal down and then crafting it to match the technical order for the specific part. When completed, the piece is hauled over to nondestructive inspection where tests are conducted to ensure the part is compositionally sound and aircraft ready.
"With the resources we have here, we are the final stop on a part's journey to an aircraft,” "If anything is wrong with the part, it's flagged and sent back to the workshop to either correct the issue, or start the operations all over again."
Accuracy in fabrication is essential in getting aircraft back up flying. When the part has completed all processes and is cleared for use, it is installed onto the aircraft, restoring readiness of the aircraft.
Fabrication flight Airmen gain a sense of accomplishment by witnessing their work come to fruition each time an aircraft takes off.
“Having combatant commands and other mission partners on base only adds to the importance of mission success. We take pride in the work of the flight, seeing the aircraft out there completing missions thanks to the maintenance here is an amazing feeling.”
An alternative specifically functional approach offers a more general way of understanding performance enhancements.at Job Sites. While contractors can incorporate these principles in their business practices, they often do not correspond to the functional divisions within companies.
Practices with the potential to help Job Site get smarter as a whole may actually reduce the efficiency at one site versus another.. This point is relevant to defense production, where collection and reporting of costs in particular categories are required.
An increase in one category is not necessarily clearly linked to a decrease in another so may look like inefficient cost growth rather than an expense related to overall performance improvement.
The first task in site visit efficiency implementation is identifying what value the product has and what the value stream looks like. A fighter aircraft has value to its ultimate customer according to their different defense roles. Value is defined "in terms of specific products with specific capabilities offered at specific prices through a dialogue with specific customers"
Once value is specified, the next step is to determine the value stream. Contractors need to understand every step in construction, that is to say, the value stream, to produce it efficiently. Then, contractors must continually look for unnecessary steps and reduce or eliminate steps. For example, production engineers can measure distance traveled, either by the part or by the workers involved, in the creation of a part and search for ways to reduce it.
The third principle involves making value flow through the work site. Components of the final product should flow smoothly, going from station to station without a lot of waiting time in between. The traditional approach to this is work sites organised by task. For example, there would be dedicated cutting areas, dedicated drilling areas, and so forth. Parts would be brought to the area, stored until the machines were free, worked on, and then moved onto the area where the next process would take place.
Some contractors tend to focus on efficiency of the work station; machine utilisation rates, instead of product value flow. Bottlenecks can occur when one operation slows the critical path of product as it moves through work site due to insufficient machine capacity & high tool changeover times, etc.
The fourth principle is knowing that customer pulls all activity. In short, this means that production should be tied to demand; no products should be built until downstream demand for them occurs. Pull production involves considerable collaboration with customers, to know what they require and when they require it, and with suppliers, to make sure their inputs are supplied at the appropriate time. One of the strengths of DoD is that they force conformance to this principle because contractors build aircraft only when ordered, after the money has been appropriated by Congress.
The constant pursuit of high performance is the fifth principle for contractors dedicated to constantly search for ways to improve their efficiencies, to cut costs, and to improve the quality of their products. A number of tools can be drawn on. For example, pursue short projects that study particular processes and look for low-cost ways for improvement. One example is of a series of "action workouts." Technically, these represent broad approach that favors continuous improvement.
In conclusion, these principles do not stand alone. Rather, there is considerable overlap in what they involve. For example, without near-perfect production, including very high-quality products received from suppliers, value cannot flow smoothly through work site. Out-of- control processes will create problems. The search for inefficient processes can help improve the quality of products and assist in the search for high-performance ratings.
As described, a major guiding principle for contractors is the removal of various forms of inefficient processes. For example, one major source is inefficient transit of parts throughout Work Site. The entire time the part is at the Work Site, being moved from place to place and not being worked on is a major problem.
All production activities can be separated into planning and control of daily activities being digitally structured along with work objects.
Digital behavioural structure of production order and information generation is based on grouping of planning and control of daily activities. Each item is lined up with considered activities, objects and each corresponding subsystems.
Digital framework for production work flow system is designed where each team activities and those objects are connected with administration functions.
1. Scheduled routine maintenance includes cleaning, installing updates, etc.
2. Unscheduled repairs to equipment that has stopped performing its assigned function or is performing its function inadequately.
3. Companies lack awareness of when equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement
4. Downtime is due to machinery failure/malfunction
5. Poorly maintained equipment results in lost production time and lost profits. Unscheduled repairs are costly
6. Installing predictive maintenance equipment helps to determine the condition of your process to provide actionable intelligence to warn of impending failure if reported issues are not addressed
7. The ideal predictive maintenance system will allow for scheduling of maintenance prior to equipment failure, which will help to eliminate unplanned downtime, reduce repair costs and equipment failures and slow asset deterioration.
8. Predictive maintenance program far less expensive than a reactive program
9. Wearable-solutions all non-invasively upgrade today’s equipment today.
10. Simple and inexpensive to upgrade your existing equipment with easy-to- attach component and electrical sensors to monitor critical systems and assets.