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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.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Maintenance Force in Context: Supply and Demand

  • Chapter Three

    The Red Box: How the Logistics Composite Model Works

  • Chapter Four

    The Red Box: Assessment of How LCOM Is Applied

  • Chapter Five

    The Blue Box: Bounding Working Hours

  • Chapter Six

    The White Box: Ample Time for "Everything Else"?

  • Chapter Seven

    A Preliminary Assessment of Shortfalls

  • Chapter Eight

    Recommendations and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    The Exponential Fleet Clock

  • Appendix B

    The Break Process in the Real World and in LCOM

  • Appendix C

    RAND Questionnaires for Maintainers in the Field

  • Appendix D

    Description of the Skill-Mix Model

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE unit.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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