Supported commander is the single person accountable for the readiness of Naval Aviation. P2P aligns all stakeholders, including Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) supply experts and Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) engineering, logistics and artisan experts, and our Type Wing and squadron Sailors and Marines so we are all working toward the same goals.
We have set ourselves up for success by including and adopting data analytics to help underpin the decisions we make. Since we expect some efforts to be more fruitful than others, we want to make sure we’re pulling the right levers with the proper focus to get the maximum gain from our investment of time and dollars.
Having a plan, then regularly checking our performance against it is the best way to get us to where we need to be. We have regular drumbeat briefings that look at what we’re doing at our squadrons, in supply and at our Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs). Leaders and champions of the various enterprise pillars get a chance to brief and say, “Here’s my organization’s plan. Here’s how we’re performing to that plan. Here’s what we’re learning, and here’s where we need your help.”
Due to the inherent complexities of the Navy Enterprise, there is a very large volume of available program execution data; a Readiness and Performance Analysis process centers leadership focus on the most impactful performance drivers to achieve Readiness recovery, while highlighting key opportunities to better achieve measurable outcomes in the most efficient manner.
Performance measurement and management is one of the most significant developments in the sphere of people management. Within organisations, it has become a key business process. It is viewed as a major lever for achieving the culture .change needed to enable organisations to respond to readiness challenges
Performance measurement and management is a set of processes for developing a shared understanding among employees of what needs to be done to enable an organisation to achieve its strategic goals. These processes include developing appropriate performance measures, and managing and developing people using approaches that are likely to produce continued success.
Performance measurement and management is about the "how” as well as the "what" of performance. It is not about "quick fixes" and "panaceas”. It is about developing a culture of confidence and trust among all employees, which reinforces both team and individual achievement. Success stems from demonstrable commitment from the organisation's senior level and from investment - of time and resources - into developing and training employees to deliver good performance.
Most organisations have some sort of process or framework to help measure and manage the performance of their employees. There is a growing awareness of the need to move away from the retrospective top-down annual appraisals to a forward-looking and two-way approach to communicating objectives, and so delivering performance for the business by valuing the contribution of all staff irrespective of status or job title.
The design of any performance measurement system should reflect the basic operating assumption of the organisations it supports. If the organisation changes and the measurement system doesn't, the latter will be at least ineffective or, more likely, counter productive. Traditional measurement systems tell an organisation where it stands in its efforts to achieve goals but not how it got there or, even more important, what it should do differently.
The challenge is to raise awareness of, and encourage dialogue about, performance as part of the daily business of an organisation. It is a matter not of only defining, measuring and managing performance, but of planning development activity and developing problem solving approaches to meet objectives. This approach relies on the ability of all employees to work as a team to common objectives and with a common sense of ownership and success.
“Parts, People, Planes: Sustainment, Aviation Leaders Visit Readiness Center”
The recurring theme in Naval Aviation has been “We need more people, planes and parts.” In an effort to break that pattern, Naval Aviation implemented the Naval Sustainment System (NSS) to change how it conducts business.
A collaboration between military and industry leaders to remove barriers, accelerate actions and improve processes, NSS encourages the adoption of commercial best practices and empowers commands to make changes. NSS is also a complementary strategy to the Performance to Plan (P2P) initiative, which focuses on training, warfighting demands and aligning priorities of materiel and operational readiness stakeholders.
To evaluate the results of these efforts, Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) leaders visit installations and organizations throughout the year. These Boots on the Ground (BoG) events provide leadership with an on the ground analysis of P2P and NSS efforts.
They also afford the opportunity to see firsthand how maintenance and supply activities have incorporated better business practices. The goal is to elevate P2P barriers and readiness challenges while showcasing best practices.
Following command overview briefs, Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing (ACCLW) team, shared results of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound type/model/series NSS approach We’ve had eight months of month-to-month increases in the number of E-2D MC [mission capable] aircraft—that’s eight straight months of improvement. We’ve had a lot of positive trendlines with NSS, but we are still short by a margin below our MC need number for E-2Ds. Our No. 1 readiness constraint is a lack of key, critical spare parts specific to this aircraft and its weapons system.”
The wing brought this issue to the Reliability Control Board—part of the NSS engineering and maintenance reform pillar—noting that some of the E-2D components are not living up to their predicted life expectancy.
We implemented Broad Unscheduled Rapid Support Training (BURST), which delivers a condensed version of the standardized instruction to Naval Aviation maintenance technicians at their squadrons.
“We just conducted this training last month for the first time. The training is made up of eight hours of classroom instruction followed by 30 hours of practical training, which allows us to teach technical training solutions. “They get to perform detailed maintenance actions on a specific platform such as system components, troubleshooting and operational checks. BURST allows a faster response time because it increases a maintainer’s level of knowledge required to complete their tasks.”
For E-2D, T-56 and MH-53E T-64 engine lines, leaders observed how FRC reform initiatives were incorporated including the adoption of proven commercial practices to maximize quality and cost efficiency while minimizing cycle times.
“So far, we really like this [FRC reform] system. It has allowed our detachment to meet this fiscal year’s production goal of 17 [MH-53E T-64] engines, but we are still falling short of the global pool engine requirements. “We have the ability to produce more, but we are suffering from key critical component shortages.”
The recurring theme of “lack of parts” shifted to a manpower shortage.
“Currently, there are no impacts to operational readiness or the flight line, but the problem is that we are running crisis mode because our civilian manning is at 50 percent.“It has an effect on the people who are here, but the pressure that we run around here 24/7 is going to start having impacts especially in the near future and on the flight line.”
“One of our mitigation strategies is to get that talent, home grow it and build it up from the bottom. “We’re building it from the ground up so it’s going to take us some time to get that talent skilled up to the level we need them to be, but we know this is going to work.”
Leadership acknowledged the accomplishments and challenges addressed at the BoG.
“This is a continual process, but having the stakeholders and organizations represented here that are critical to the support of the fleet is really important, We picked up on a few new best practices here and we were able to visualize the work they are doing here. The tone of this BoG was very optimistic despite the action items that we need to address and that illustrates Naval Sustainment System at work.”
“As I look back on my first year” Air Boss described his first year on the job “a year of discovery and alignment” Now that we are in year two, the actions we have taken are gaining traction and will enable us to rapidly improve and sustain much higher levels of readiness. I look at this yearas the year of results.
Air Boss added “While I feel good about the state of Naval Aviation and its future, readiness is not where it needs to be for today’s combat environment. Improving readiness remains our main focus across the entire NAE-from leaders, to Sailors and Marines, to our civilian engineers and artisans, to our industry partners. To use a sports analogy, I see myself as the head coach. During the past year, I saw team members doing their jobs well but not necessarily with the understanding of how their work contributes to the overall effort of the team.
We’ve spent a lot of time aligning all of our activities so every person in the NAE understands how what they do on a daily basis contributes toward achieving our goals across every aircraft series we fly. The most pressing focus is building 341 mission-capable, lethal Super Hornet aircraft that can fight and win tonight, but it is only one aircraft across Naval Aviation and there are goals for everyone. Our metrics are aligned enterprise-wide, and we have clear expectations that we communicate through regular drumbeat briefings, Air Plans, podcasts and Naval Aviation News.
Air Boss added, "I am also listening to the fleet voice-on the flight line and in the aviation depots, as barriers are elevated to leadership so that we can resolve them. This is all part of effective communication. I’ve heard a number of times during Boots-on-the-Ground events that if the Sailors, Marines or artisans just had this one tool or this one piece of gear, their jobs would be easier, and they’d be more effective.
The first step to taking action on these challenges, is hearing about them and understanding what is required. Clear communication and expectations give us all the same goals and allow us to work as a team. To that end, I want to elaborate on two initiatives underway: Performance to Plan (P2P) and the Naval Sustainment Systems (NSS).
In conjunction with P2P, the NSS initiative is leveraging best practices from commercial industry to help us reform aspects of our FRCs, organizational-level maintenance, supply chain, engineering and maintenance organizations, and our governance processes.”
We’ve hired industry leaders to help us with this holistic reform effort that involves people, parts, processes and governance across the NAE. The NSS initiative helps ensure we are aligned and also more transparent and more aware of what every other contributing stakeholder is doing and how each of their roles contributes to readiness.
The NSS is concentrating on getting the Navy Super Hornet fleet healthy again. We are focusing on the Super Hornet fleet first for two reasons: one, they have operated at a higher operational tempo than most other aircraft over the last 17 years; and two, this platform is critical for executing the high-end fight and supporting our troops on the ground.
But it’s not just Super Hornets. Secretary of Defense directed all the services with fighter and strike fighter aircraft—the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps—to achieve an 80-percent mission-capable rate across their warfighting squadrons. While we had already started on that initiative, this directive acknowledges the importance of every aircraft and the need to apply all learning from this initial work in applying the NSS to every Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.
We have already seen success with NSS. We reformed how select work flows through the depot production lines and have implemented a more visual way to track that flow. These changes mean that at any time, you can walk into the hydraulic servo workshop at FRC Southwest (FRCSW) and see a diagram of their work in progress.
The diagram shows current status of every part and where the shop has encountered an issue and whether it is a supply or engineering issue. This allows managers to easily see and address issues immediately. We swarm that problem, we fix it, and the work continues to flow.
When you visit the landing gear shop at FRCSW, you see the same visual workflow and are able to identify the barrier or impediment there as well. Again, we can swarm, fix and improve.
We’ve already seen a 50-percent reduction in turnaround time in the two shops, and that translates to meeting the needs on the flight lines.
When Air Boss visited FRCW 15 seconds of entering the production control center, I saw a stack of papers in one area of the work flow depiction and I knew immediately that was where the problem existed. I said, “Okay, we have a problem there. What is it?” That instant awareness helps everyone know where to focus their efforts.
They said, “Here’s our problem. We don’t have enough engineers, and that’s why we have a backlog in engineering.” I said, “Okay, what do you need?” They responded, “Well sir, we need three stress engineers full-time so we can work off this backlog.” NAVAIR quickly responded, and we have three stress engineers in FRCW today making a difference.
It’s exciting to learn that we are currently exceeding our predicted gains. As we learn, we are raising the bar even higher. This gives me great hope as I look at our P2P metrics and reform our practices under the NSS. All of it is contributing to greater readiness across Naval Aviation. We are winning today, and we will win well into the future.
Key elements of P2P are:
1. Creating a shared understanding of organizational metrics both backward- and forward-looking
2. Understanding the effort needed to achieve Readiness success
3. Elevating barriers and matters requiring Echelon I leadership action to resolve
4. Fostering a data-driven decision culture
5. Simplifying and standardizing metrics reporting to spotlight issues and improve problem-solving
6. Clearly articulating performance gaps, identifying barriers to execution
7. Developing potential solutions to achieve an integrated enterprise approach to reduce intuition based decisions
8. Increase confidence in data-driven cause and effect relationships
9. Improve the cadence of accountability in execution
10. Move forward velocity of learning across the Navy.