Last week, I addressed the local Wasatch Chapter of INCOSE. I spoke about how our nation took our military doctrine of strategic bombardment a step farther and developed intercontinental ballistics missiles as a deterrent to other nations bombarding us. This included a description of how ICBMs work, how systems engineering was refined to help create ICBMs and SLBMs, and how a useful model for sustainment was created and used by ICBM USAF and contractor experts.
I did all of that in an hour and have a video to prove it. I’ll post that later.
After, I got great questions, which is always so gratifying.
One in particular pushed me to give a particularly brilliant answer. So the question and answer are reproduced here.
Question: “What one, two, or three areas of sustainment do you think gets too little attention, but is very important?”
My Answer: (OK, I’ll admit, I’ve added some words for clarity.)
“The sustainment phase is characterized by the emergence of a capabilities baseline, loss of priority and resources, and loss of the urgency of an “initial design to FOC” schedule.
Connections to the warfighter during the sustainment phase are just as critical as ever since the operators are meeting the mission using the system. They come to rely on an experienced capability. And they will scream if a capability is lost – even if it was never a design criterion.
Second, sustainers must maintain that capability despite a loss of priority. Loss of priority includes funds, other resources, and even executive oversight.
The third characterization, loss of a schedule, means that the sustainers must determine the correct schedule for fixes based on the risk being dealt with, not the design or production schedule. And integrate that with all the other risks. And combine this into an overall integrated deployment schedule that husbands resources.”
There are, of course other important differences: The production phase is characterized by a FRACAS program, the sustainment phase implements this kind of program at their repair depots to catch new, emerging failure modes. FMEAs inform the design phase, sustainers are on the lookout for new emerging failures to add to the FMEA list. Age surveillance programs are designed before the sustainment phase and refined during the sustainment phase.
I’ll post the vid of me giving the presentation later. It’s currently in editing.