Armor & Mobility

AUG 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 8 of 31

Now, the real challenge comes when you recognize our personnel numbers are at their lowest in 25 years which means we need to bring on not just more people, but also folks who are highly skilled. Adding to the challenge is our workforce is retiring in greater numbers, so we need to pass on skills to the next generation before our seasoned workers deservedly walk out with skills acquired over decades. For example, our engineering team identified nearly 180 individual engineering skill sets needed to holistically execute their mission. In addition, we are continually assessing which programs require a priority of effort through our strategic resource management model, as well as honing our efficiency thru center-wide standard processes. My goal is to get to a point where we can demonstrably, with data, show that we are doing this job better every year, and that we can make the case that we are a genuine, "head of the class" organization within the Department of Defense for doing this kind of work. I think that in many areas we are, but presenting hard data as proof is key. To phrase this more succinctly, I want to make sure we have super highly qualified people doing their job extremely well and that we can prove that with measures that are objective via verifiable data. A&M: From an assets perspective, what focus areas are AFLCMC targeting in support of legacy programs as well as incoming F-35 and KC-46 integration, while addressing related challenges to keeping these critical airframes on track for USAF/DoD mission readiness? Lt. Gen. McMurry: Looking across the board, it's true our Air Force fleet is older now than ever, and we have pilots flying the same aircraft their grandfathers once flew. Age is only part of the story. The other factor is usage. It's the old adage, "It's not the years, it's the miles." There is truth to that. We've been flying combat operations non-stop since 1990—this takes a physical toll on weapons systems. Many of our weapons systems require upgrade modifications to remain operationally relevant. These are the reasons that recapitalization of our fleets is so important. It is vital to the continued security of this nation that the Air Force modernize and keep it an unfair fight against our adversaries. I'm proud to be on a team that is a key contributor towards this goal. As new weapon systems come on-line, especially newly devel- oped platforms, you face a multitude of challenges. We generally refer to this as "discovery." These are simply the unknowables you can expect to encounter as you tread new ground. Every program goes through it. The F-35 has unprecedented computing capability and has had challenges finalizing the millions of lines of code in its software. Earlier, the KC-46 discovered excessive axial loads on the boom during testing that required some modifications. But we as an Air Force must always press the envelope on technology, if we don't, our opponents will. These challenges will be overcome, its the nature of this business. Again, an agile team that is smart and flexible enough to adapt to any number of challenges is crucial. Last, but not least, sustainment of the fleet is the lynchpin holding all this together. Lt. Gen. Lee Levy and his team at the Air Force Sustainment Center do a remarkable job keeping the depots moving and keeping aircraft in the air. Supply chain stability has been on the rise thanks to their efforts, but it is something that requires constant attention. It was one of the reasons that early on during the recent hiring freeze, the DoD granted a waiver to AFSC to A C-17 undergoes maintenance at Robins AFB. (U. S. Air Force photo/Sue Sapp) COMMANDER'S CORNER Armor & Mobility | August 2017 | 7

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