Cover: Setting Requirements for Maintenance Manpower in the U.S. Air Force

Setting Requirements for Maintenance Manpower in the U.S. Air Force

Published 2002

by Carl J. Dahlman, Robert Kerchner, David E. Thaler


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Over the past decade, the United States Air Force has faced a variety of unforeseen challenges. On the one hand, a significant portion of the force has been engaged in a range of contingency as well as peacekeeping operations. On the other hand, a once-robust economy led many to leave the force in unexpected numbers during the 1990s. The result has been a mismatch between Air Force taskings and available personnel. This report outlines the findings of a study whose objective was twofold: first, to review the methodology that the Air Force uses to determine active-duty enlisted manpower requirements in aircraft maintenance; and second, to investigate whether these requirements and their resulting authorizations have been underestimated. Toward this goal, the study assesses the Logistics Composite Model (LCOM), a statistical simulation model that the Air Force uses to gauge direct maintenance man-hours, as well as the Air Force-wide regulations that establish ceilings on available hours. The report concludes that maintenance manpower requirements are in fact underestimated in the Air Force, largely because the service's manpower processes do not adequately account for all the tasks that maintainers in the field must undertake. Accordingly, the report recommends that Air Force policies and analytical tools be reexamined and appropriately refined to better reflect maintenance manpower needs.

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