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The Air Force has several options for sustaining weapon systems and components but has, in recent years, increasingly chosen contractor logistics support (CLS) over organic support. Still, questions remain about costs and efficiency, even about whether CLS is the best option. The authors explored these by reviewing the relevant government and DoD documents and data and by speaking with various knowledgeable individuals. The authors noted that CLS contracts have often gone to original equipment manufacturers because, lacking the technical data, the Air Force could not choose a third party. They also noted that contracts that guarantee large annual sums limit the Air Force's ability to adjust when its own funding changes and that the reasons underpinning these decisions are not always complete or consistent across the service. Centralizing and standardizing data and the related management skills would help make them available across the Air Force. More important, to retain all its choices for logistics services throughout a system's life cycle, the Air Force should acquire the technical data or data rights near the start of the acquisition process.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Background and Policy Guidance on CLS Use

  • Chapter Three

    Funding and Cost Issues Associated with CLS Use

  • Chapter Four

    Assessing the Performance of CLS

  • Chapter Five

    CLS Management

  • Chapter Six

    Implications for Cost Analysts

  • Chapter Seven

    Summary and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Comparison of Supply-System Performance on CLS and Organic Programs

  • Appendix B

    Laws, Directives, Regulations, Instructions, and Reports That Affect CLS Use

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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