The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) hosted 50 military and civilian aviation logisticians from across the Army Aviation Enterprise during the annual Department of the Army Worldwide Aviation Logistics Conference (WALC) last week.
"This is an important week; you are here for a purpose… We've got a lot of meaty issues right now, and we need to work together," Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram, AMCOM Commander, said as he kicked-off the three day event.
An entirely new format, with a smaller attendance list of Army sustainment decision makers, was introduced this year in an effort to actively develop and implement action plans to address key Army Aviation sustainment initiatives using the recently published Army Aviation Enterprise Sustainment Strategy (AAESS). The goal for the end of the event was to present the Army with synchronized enterprise efforts to achieve strategic level objectives, most notably the Holistic Aviation Assessment Task Force (HAATF) study recommendations.
The Aviation leader discussions were based on the foundation of the four required attributes highlighted in the AAESS to ensure branch level objectives are met: Reach (Speed, Range, Endurance, Power, and Agility), Protection, Lethality, and Sustainability. These attributes will guide decision making processes and drive strategic initiatives for the future.
"We are all focused on the following five objectives: The Expeditionary Aviation Force, Reducing Soldier Burdens, Improving Operational Availability, Reducing the Logistics Footprint, and Decreasing Life Cycle costs," Gabram said.
He also emphasized that the Aviation Enterprise Sustainment Strategy provides the framework to enable readiness as the Army transitions to the Aviation Force of 2025 and beyond.
A primary example of this is an enterprise level emphasis on CBM (Condition Based Maintenance), which is one of the HAATF recommendations. The Aviation Enterprise is synchronized and moving forward with CBM, but it is still in the beginning phases.
"The CBM strategy is in draft right now, and we are staffing it," Gabram said. It will be an integral part of the Future Vertical Lift effort, by improving operational capability and time on wing."
As discussed during the WALC, there are pockets of excellence within the branch already executing CBM, and there needs to be synchronized efforts to collaborate on lessons learned in order to strengthen the Aviation Enterprise as a whole.
"The 160th Task Force and the South Carolina Army National Guard are doing CBM, and are doing it right," Gabram added. "We can learn a lot from them and what they have been able to accomplish."
In another example, Gabram said the Utility Helicopter Project Management Office extended the Phase Maintenance Interval on Black Hawks by 120 hours by leveraging CBM. That increase means that deployed aircraft can stay on station, and in the fight longer, without needing to return to another location for maintenance actions.
The WALC concluded with a GOSC (General Officer Steering Committee) to finalize the prioritized output from the event. This output will be used to inform the governing body for the HAATF, and enable the branch to move strategically forward with action on recommended changes at the Aviation Enterprise level.
The three day conference was strategically executed back to back with the U.S. Army Forces Command focused Quarterly Aviation Synchronization Meeting (QASM) in order to take advantage of key attendance from across the Aviation Enterprise.