After writing 27,000 words of my book, “Fundamentals of Weapon System Sustainment”, I am finally confident that I have hit upon the unifying theme and full contents. I have also changed the title to: “Fundamentals of Complex System Sustainment” and written the following “About this Book”.
There is a right way and a wrong way to attempt to sustain a complex system. This book, written by retired USAF colonel and retired defense contractor engineer, Charlie Vono, describes the best ways that Air Force uniformed military, civil servants, and contractors use when sustaining the most complex weapon system ever employed, the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The various key skills required within a sustainment team such as program management, supply, testing, et al are tied together with this overall vision.
Whether you are a strong advocate of deterrence via nuclear weapons on alert, or a strong opponent, the lessons learned keeping this highly complex system viable for half a century will be of use to you, if you have a complex system to sustain.
“Sustainment: the continuous support of a complex system with a goal of ensuring the mission of that system is met.” “Weapon system: everything required for the warfighter to employ the combat hardware and embedded software to achieve the mission.”
Starting with these all-encompassing definitions, Charlie Vono explains how focus on the warfighters’ mission enables you to identify risks to your weapon system readiness. Once these risks are identified, comprehensive plans can be put in place to mitigate the risks in a logical, integrated manner. Although no guarantees are ever possible, a great plan increases the chances funding from your decision makers will be forthcoming. All of this is predicated on a great assessment program that allows you to fully observe and precisely estimate your system’s readiness to support its mission.
Vono provides numerous examples to illustrate key principles of sustainment. As a bonus, he provides detail on 3 key enablers to this approach, effectively leading your people, exploiting your information, and establishing discipline via processes.
With this management model on mind, a sustainer will never lose hear, feel lost, or despair of a path ahead. Many of the methods explained are hard and some you will find impossible when first attempted. But this paradigm will keep you and your team focused on the ultimate goal: ensuring the mission of your system is met.