Considering the (Possib)-ilities (Part 1)
In 2003-04, the department began a steady and inexorable pivot to a life cycle model that included establishment of a life cycle logistics functional community focused on networked end-to-end warfighter support, tighter alignment with systems and sustaining engineering community, ability to understand and leverage proven commercial practices, recognition of the importance of both product support integrators and product support providers, a focus on affordable outcome-based product support, embrace total life cycle systems management, and a relentless focus on meeting warfighter requirements and program manager expectations. We have seen steady and substantial progress in the nearly two decades since.
Fast-forward to the present. We now have life cycle logisticians (2004), the Sustainment KPP (2006), the product support business model (2009), product support managers (2009), life cycle sustainment plans (2011), integrated product support elements (2011), O&S cost management (2015), not to mention performance based logistics, product support integrators, product support providers, product support business case analysis, closer alignment with our systems and sustaining engineers, independent logistics assessments, post-IOC sustainment reviews, adaptive acquisition framework, back-to-basics, and life cycle management – indeed what long-time practitioners envisioned would eventually become true life cycle management and product support as outlined in 10 USC 4324: Life-Cycle Management and Product Support and DoD Instruction 5000.91 Product Support for the Adaptive Acqusition Framework.
Through all of the intervening years and advancements we’ve seen, the reality is the “ilities” never really went away. This is because at the end of the day, those “ilities” remain a cornerstone that undergirds these many advancements in DoD life cycle management and product support. Their application remains ubiquitous, and the expectation remains that we as product support professionals must plan for and develop product support strategies that include early and consistent application and investment in these key “ilities”.
Indeed, the term “ilities” is so ubiquitous, so foundational, so critical, so multi-disciplinary, and so important in the acquisition arena that it actually has its own definition in the DAU Glossary (defined as “the operational and support requirements a program must address (e.g., availability, maintainability, vulnerability, reliability, and logistics supportability).” The reality is the definition could actually be broadened further still to include key interdisciplinary tenants, processes, metrics, and performance outcomes such as (but not limited to) affordability, sustainability, suitability, habitability, and transportability, along with big four”, namely reliability, availability, maintainability and supportability (RAMS).
It should also come as no surprise that your DAU life cycle logistics colleagues offer training in these technically-focused, multi-disciplinary “ilities” including a wide-range of learning assets captured in a separate blog post entitiled "Maintainability, Supportability, Reliability, Availability Focus".
Note: The second part of this two-part series can be found at "Considering the (Possib)-ilities (Part 2)."