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Enterprise Logistics Readiness Portfolio: Delivering capability to delight the user

  • Published
  • By Herbert H. Hunter, Jr., Portfolio Chief and Richard Hricko, Deputy Portfolio Chief
  • Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE-GUNTER ANNEX, Ala. – The Enterprise Logistics Readiness Portfolio (AFLCMC/GBS), under the Business and Enterprise Systems (BES) Directorate is uniquely constructed to mimic a Department of Air Force (DAF) Logistics Readiness Squadron to deliver Supply Chain Materiel Management, management of critical safety items, and controlled inventory items, including nuclear weapons-related materiel.
 
We deliver software intensive supply and transportation capability to our warfighters who requisition supplies, control cargo and personnel movement; maintain accountability of nuclear weapons, and handle, track, and provide total visibility of permanent change of station shipments. Additionally, our Defense Business Systems control the DAF catalogue and provisioning, kick start the Air Logistics Complexes workday with the Weapon System Management Information System (WSMIS) Execution and Prioritization of Repairs Support System D087X tool, calculate congressional budgets, or use the WSMIS Propulsion Requirements System (PRS) to help the F-35 community respond to a congressional inquiry on their engine sustainment. More importantly, we are 100 percent focused on total user experience.
 
Our approach is to understand and execute in a way that helps our Directorate achieve the Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Frank Kendall’s, seven operational imperatives, to advance the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s, strategic approach entitled Accelerate Change or Lose, and to pursue the nation’s National Military Strategy. Our task is rooted in  words supplied by our Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate’s mission statement (operate, integrate, innovate) and vision statement (delight the user).

Since the start of the BES reimagining efforts - in June 2019 - to emulate industry’s best practices, we have committed to a journey of agile software, agile maturity, and using the DevSecOps pipeline to increase software deployment capability velocity while increasing cybersecurity hygiene, penetration testing, and code quality. The results don’t lie. In FY20 we had 62 capability deployment releases, 95 capability deployment releases in FY21, and are slated to deliver 106 capability deployment releases in FY22 - with a respectable 97 percent on-time delivery rate and 31 percent of the releases reducing technical debt.
 
 Ours is a life of pivoting or flexing during the execution year to take on emerging requirements deemed a high priority to our valued stakeholders. These emerging requirements come from Robotic Process Automation (RPAs) (i.e., bots), Spark Tank (SBIR funding) competition, or when a senior leader visits our Airmen and Guardians in the field. We’ve proudly met that challenge by continually addressing those year-of-execution requirements.
 
Two such senior leader examples involved our Integrated Logistics Systems-Supply (ILS-S) Capability Delivery Team (CDT).

Before retiring, Gen. Arnold Bunch, then commander of Air Force Materiel Command promised to help the Air Force Security Forces with their request to change the Defender’s for Life and next to skin process and allow them to keep their equipment when there is a permanent change of station versus turning it in to their losing base and getting a new distribution at their gaining base. Also, URSUS (the Bear), championed by Maj. Gen. Linda Hurry, Air Force Director of Logistics  wanted a capability in support of our Unit Deployment Managers to enhance how we mobilize forces to support Combatant Commands with a focus on the Individual Protective Equipment (IPE), Personnel Deployment Function (PDF), and the Cargo Deployment Function (CDF) processes. These changes fall under the mobility module in ILS-S; and, in order to provide a credible expectation and capability delivery date, the Product Owner,  Scott Hunter, collaborated with the Air Force Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Logistics Readiness Division Function Manager, industry partners, and the Capability Delivery Team to review the execution year workload as set by the Functional Requirements Board and developed the best way to insert and prioritize the emerging requirements. As of mid-September, the Defender for Life capability was fielded, and the URSUS capability is on track for a 3rd Quarter FY23 fielding.
 
Another great example of flexibility is the partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency, Air Force Material Command (AFMC) Systems Integration Division (A4N), and the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) Directorate of Logistics and Logistics Services (LG) for the Support Center Pacific (SCP) at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, a critical effort to stand up a hybrid Depot Operation to be a policy compliant, OCONUS Depot Source of Repair Operation leveraging Air Force and DLA efficiencies and best practices.  Jude Stanley, our Depot Distribution and Accountability Product Line Manager, leads the Enterprise Logistics Readiness Portfolio efforts in corralling the required systems supporting this effort, WSMIS, ILS-S, the Stock Control System, and the Air Force Distribution Standard System. Additionally, he ensures the transition from today’s Air Logistics Complex’s depot maintenance warehouse system to a fully operational and audit compliant integrated Warehouse Management System retail solution stays on track with zero gaps in capability.
 
The On-Line Vehicle Interactive Management System (OLVIMS) Capability Delivery Team (CDT) helped the U.S. Air Force manage ground transportation during Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) by updating a management platform specifically for Task Force members involved in the operation at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. 
 
Prior to the update, or more specifically, the site code creations, the Task Forces’ data were getting tangled in with the local ground transportation sites, creating confusion and increasing work times to sift through irrelevant information.  The combined usage of sites by local base units and the Task Forces caused disorganization of vehicle assets, confusion on who was providing support, and delayed service times.  The creation of these unique site codes enabled a clear sight picture for ground transportation operations directly involved with the movement of cargo and passengers coming in from Afghanistan.  It ensured that passengers and cargo got to where they needed to be, on time, and without any of the delays that occurred previously.
 
A final example of our ability to work our stakeholder’s priorities is our successful effort in merging the Centralized Access for Data Exchange (CAFDEx™) and the Maintenance Planning and Execution (MP&E) systems resulting in the new Sustainment Planning, Execution and Reporting System (SPERS) and stood up the first Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of SPERS in Cloud One’s Azure environment.
 
The MP&E system was a critical logistics data system used by the U.S. Air Force as the primary source of data for reporting core national defense capabilities for aerospace depot maintenance to Congress. The CAFDEx™ system is an enterprise tool used to plan, program, budget, and execute Centralized Asset Management (CAM) Weapon System Sustainment (WSS) requirements. This was a collaborated effort with GBS, the 581st Software Engineering Squadron at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and AFMC/A4N and led to a more efficient, secure, and cheaper solution without using proprietary software.
 
These multiple initiatives are seen as a game of chess in which we must think a few moves ahead and take action to combat disruptive actors from negatively impacting our assets. Cultivating relationships with our customers and users creates an enduring and an imperishable source of feedback, trust, and partnership in vetting requirements, testing software releases, and deploying capability. What isn’t lost in the translation is our dedicated commitment to creating a value stream with an upward trajectory and acceleration of valued capability delivered at the “speed-of-need” that delivers positive user experiences while protecting our decisional data pipeline.
 
“As the organization responsible for Logistics IT portfolio management, we took on the challenge to reduce the portfolio’s overall sustainment footprint while improving system health,” said Peter Dean Blake, Chief of Systems Integration Division at AFMC.  “The overall goal was to increase our support to the warfighter with speed and relevance by re-investing sustainment dollars saved through application consolidations and application migrations to the cloud.  We have been hugely successful in accomplishing this task within our portfolio, reducing our total number of systems from 446 sustainment applications to currently, 172, while also moving 43 applications to the cloud.  We saw an 18 percent improvement in system health from 2021 to 2022, averting $20 million in system health remediation costs.  This has allowed us to focus our priorities on newer capabilities and get those fielded faster to meet our warfighters’ needs.  None of this could have been possible without the tireless dedication and support of the men and women in the Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate.  Their program management and IT expertise was the driving force in many of these activities.  I am so thankful for their partnership as we continue on this path of tuning our portfolio to meet today’s and the future’s logistics IT requirements.”
 
We look for consistency and intentional discipline as we queue up requirements. 
 
We talk with our users and, more importantly, we listen to them. We set expectations that every PM serve as the gold standard to drive agility and increase the ability to pivot or flex for emerging requirements. Our business demands less admiring of the problem and more catching the acquisition tailwinds to accelerate change.
 
All roads circle back to the Directorate’s vision statement…..delight the user!!!!