There must be a high state of materiel readiness across the force. In addition to appropriately funding the sustainment of equipment, and the establishment of appropriate stocks in appropriate areas to enable operational contingencies, the means of sustaining equipment must be as appropriate for support operations as they are for efficiency in garrison.
Failures in materiel readiness are often replicated in major sustainability issues on operations, and necessitate consequential actions such as switching parts between aircraft to achieve desired operational readiness outcomes.
The 2nd Marine Division is doing its largest unscripted training in decades. About 10,000 Marines and sailors are training in California for the 2nd Marine Division's largest exercise in recent history.
New technology will allow the Marines to see how they do against a simulated adversary in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise called MWX 1-20.
The troops will be pitted against each other in a force-on-force battle as they prepare for the kind of fight against an enemy with sophisticated equipment and skills.
In the unscripted exercise, Marines will be equipped with "laser-based equipment" that will register when hit by enemy fire. "We're interested in seeing how the Division conducts combat operations against a simulated adversary with capabilities as advanced as our own in the unforgiving terrain of the combat center.
During MWX, Marines and simulated advisory will be using technology such as unmanned aerial surveillance and electronic warfare, which will "challenge how, and the way in which, they make decisions.Technology will provide "unique challenges across every level" during this exercise.
"The 'Follow-Me' Division is going to learn a lot from this challenge and will be a much better, trained and led organization because of this experience.
Logistics has been a double-edged sword for Marines for generations. On the upside, plentiful supplies of fuel, ammunition, and spare parts in good times have kept huge armoured forces on the march. On the downside, the long supply lines, iron mountains of supply stockpiles, and the huge numbers of support troops and vehicles required slow down deployments to a crisis and restrict manoeuvres once it’s arrived.
Marines could cope with these logistical limits when it has months to build up before the shooting started, with nearby as bases, and a relatively short distance to drive.
But logistical demands can be much greater when distances are longer with large combat formations moving along a single axis of advance, let alone supply convoys and depots.
So emerging concepts called multi-domain operations or distributed operations envisions Marines spreading out to make themselves harder targets. Relatively small units would operate “semi-independently,” moving frequently from one position to another, without resupply for days at a time.
The problem is Marines are not set up to do this today. Heavy armoured vehicles just require too much fuel and maintenance to operate this way. The long-term solution is to develop lighter and less logistically demanding vehicles, but recent efforts have been less than successful.
In the meantime, Marines need to figure out how to support the forces it has more efficiently so they can manoeuvre more freely, with less frequent pit stops for maintenance or supply runs for repair parts.
That’s where the new contract comes in. A lot of maintenance that’s done is based on what the owner’s manual says. You should go and get your oil changed and your engine checked every so many miles which can function as a baseline but it doesn’t take into account how the machine is being used and the wear and tear and stresses.
The goal is to track the performance of each major component in real time — oil pressure, turbocharger speed, battery life, etc. etc. — and predict when it’s likely to fail.
Predictive maintenance has two benefits. First, most obviously, it lets you replace or repair a part before it breaks on you. Second, it lets you skip a lot of so-called preventive maintenance, when you pull your vehicle into the shop after so many hours of operation because that’s when, on average, such-and-such a component will need an overhaul.
There’s been a small blitz of media coverage of the contract, it’s focused on how predictive maintenance can improve efficiency and cut costs, but there are uniquely military benefits.
So we track not only the individual performance of specific components on specific vehicles, but also external variables like weather. Heat, cold, and humidity can all impose stress on machinery.
Where is this information coming from? It turns out the ability to put digital sensors on its products got ahead of its ability to do anything with it. A lot of machines have the sensors already on them that are producing metrics, it’s just that nobody’s listening.
Another problem is when vehicle is in a location with poor bandwidth, or if there’s a military reason to turn off all transmissions, the system can stop sending updates for a time. It can also do some of the assessments onboard the vehicle and may not have to send the results back to the central station minimising bandwidth use and transmission length.
But the big benefit is the ability to pool all available information in one place and then let machine learning figure out patterns, which can then be used to forecast future performance.
We can track general trends across a fleet of vehicles, but the real value is with prediction. Imagine if, instead of having to go to the shop for your scheduled work, you could have your status 24/7.
On the individual machine/equipment level, will the fighter unit make it through the day and do what it needs to do?
Our goal is for tactical commanders to know -- we have this many vehicles this is what the overall status is for each one so better strategic decisions can be made
Our expertise spans the entire spectrum of marines operational requirements, such as configuration management, material procurement, training, shipboard assessments, developing and correcting maintenance processes, and documenting material discrepancies. We provide an array of tools, processes, and support systems to manage the flow of equipment, services, and data efficiently and within budget.
Through data and systems integration, the fusion of information and transportation, and agile infrastructure, seamless and modular logistics support systems are introduced. We create and update maintenance strategies, plans, and procedures for in-service assets. For Marine customers, we develop ship overhaul work package requirements, including development and/or review of work specifications and associated requirements.
We also support material condition assessment teams and document material deficiencies. We provide professional services in support of military supply, maintenance, and logistics military commands. This support saves cost through efficiencies in procurement and maintenance policies, and provides improved metrics to facilitate superiority in future decisions.
Marines require engineering logistics for all levels of maintenance, providing acquisition planning and support, engineering planning, lifecycle maintenance expertise, engineering technical research, and tools for rapid engineering assessments.
Effectively identifying and replacing worn parts stateside, prior to deployment, requires extensive maintenance and logistics expertise and improves cost-efficiency and mission effectiveness.
Our engineers and maintenance personnel have extensive experience in evaluating equipment operability risks and identifying discrepancies. Our logistics support personnel have deep experience in material identification, sourcing, ordering, tracking, and expediting. We update configuration databases to reflect as-installed equipment and workload schedule forecasting.
Highly intensive systems in domains such as transportation, infrastructure, aerospace and telecom have long operational life cycles and their stakeholders expect them to exhibit the necessary operational and performance characteristics during these long operational life spans.
Often the results have been less than satisfactory, which has led many to envision alternative approaches to effectively sustaining such systems. Among the alternative approaches is Performance Based Logistics, whose essence is to define key system readiness and effectiveness criteria and to contract for threshold values of these criteria. The emphasis is on contracting for results, and not for resources as traditionally done.
We partnered with marines to conduct survey aimed at assessing current practices in performance-based logistics contracting, highlighting the lessons learned and outlining the primary drawbacks observed.
We developed a framework for formulating more efficient and effective contractual agreements and identified the main topics, aspects and metrics representing system effectiveness of a successful performance-based logistics initiative.
Marine leaders must consider the following factors for early assessment, since failure to do so could cause significant consequences in operation phases.
The sensitivity of the program to uncertainty in the threat description, the degree to which the system design would have to change if the threat’s parameters change, or the vulnerability of the program to collect intelligence collection efforts sensitive to threat countermeasures
How program are impacted by uncertainty in the system description and requirements, excluding those caused by threat uncertainty. Requirements include operational needs, attributes, performance and readiness parameters to include key Performance Parameters, constraints, technology, design processes, and work breakdown structure
3. Technical Baseline
The ability of the system configuration to achieve the program’s engineering objectives based on the available technology, design tools, design maturity, etc. Program uncertainties and the processes associated with the reliability, supportability, maintainability, etc. must be considered. The system configuration is an agreed-to description of the attributes of a product, at a point in time, which serves as a basis for defining change.
4. Test and Evaluation
The adequacy and capability of the test and evaluation program to assess attainment of significant performance specifications and determine whether the system is operationally effective, operationally suitable, and interoperable.
5. Modeling and Simulation
The adequacy and capability of model/simulation to support all life-cycle phases of a program using verified, validated, and accredited models and simulations.
The degree to which the technology proposed for the program has demonstrated sufficient maturity to be realistically capable of meeting all of the program’s objectives.
The ability of the system configuration and associated documentation to achieve the program’s logistics objectives based on the system design, maintenance concept, support system design, and availability of support data and resources.
The ability of the system configuration to achieve the program’s production objectives based on the system design, manufacturing processes chosen, and availability of manufacturing and repair resources in the sustainment phase.
The sensitivity of the program to uncertainty resulting from the combining or overlapping of life-cycle phases or activities. The ability of the system needs ability to achieve the program’s life-cycle support objectives. This includes the effects of budget and affordability decisions and the effects of inherent errors in the cost estimating techniques used given that the technical requirements were properly defined and taking into account known and unknown program information.
The degree to which program scheduling plans and strategies exist and are realistic and consistent within qualified support team. Schedule involves sufficiency of the time allocated for performing tasks include effects of programmatic schedule decisions, errors in schedule estimating, and external physical constraints.