the future. In fact, the lack of coordinated management is evident even in activities dealing with multiple versions of the same platform.
Fragmented management is the result of recent reorganizations within the Air Force. The Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433) required that all Acquisition Category I (ACAT I) programs1 be assigned to program managers who report directly to a program executive officer, who reports in turn directly to the service acquisition executive. ACAT I programs are considered major defense acquisition programs (MDAPs) and generally entail total expenditures of more than $365 million on R&D, testing, and evaluation in FY00 constant dollars or more than $2.19 billion for procurement. Managers of lower cost acquisition programs (ACAT II, III, or IV), including acquisition programs for most avionics systems, report to a product center commander or an air logistics commander, both of whom report to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). Although one way to reduce TOC would be to establish a common avionics system for multiple aircraft, the program manager of an avionics system and the program manager of an MDAP (who controls very large procurement funds) are each concerned about management of their own programs (stove-pipe management) and have different reporting chains of command.
At the same time the Air Force was reorganized to comply with the Goldwater Nichols Act, it was also in the process of combining the Air Force Systems Command and the Air Force Logistics Command into the AFMC. In response to concerns that management of programs for aircraft acquisition and support would become too fragmented, the AFMC created the concept of integrated weapon-system management (IWSM) to coordinate the acquisition and support of all Air Force programs in the AFMC. Although IWSM provides an effective approach to coordinating management for the total life cycle of a single weapon system or aircraft platform, it does not have a mechanism for addressing problems that affect multiple aircraft platforms. The management structure of operational logistics for fleet avionics is similar. Therefore, maintenance is largely reactive to crises. The current management structure does serve the basic purpose of providing integrated management for each weapon system. However, stronger horizontal management authority for issues like aging/obsolescent avionics will require some form of matrix management. Integrated product and process teams or special program offices are examples of management techniques that could be used.
A practical, affordable approach to assessing and managing the problem in terms of a single platform must begin with the preparation of avionics modernization road maps for each platform, emphasizing planned, periodic upgrades. If supported by a concurrent budgeting plan, a series of cost-effective, systematic, periodic (every two to three years) upgrades could then be planned to upgrade system performance incrementally and/or to mitigate future obsolescence problems and ensure a ready, highly capable fleet.
The Air Force is now (and should continue) creating and implementing road maps for each platform (Raggio, 2000). The test of success of these road maps will be how well they are coordinated with the budgeting process—especially out-year commitments. These road maps must become real plans, rather than “wish lists” that never make it above the funding cut line.
Comprehensive road maps for individual platforms can also provide an effective framework for cross-platform and, eventually, cross-service coordination. The road maps could also be used as a basis for total-enterprise planning and management, which could reduce redundant expenditures and improve schedule efficiencies. The sharing of best practices among different weapon-system programs would be an added benefit. In fact, from a process viewpoint, the coordinated management of the activities identified in Chapter 3 of this report could reduce redundancies and increase efficiencies for all current activities addressing the aging avionics issue.
The platform-to-platform interoperability requirements for new and legacy weapon systems are imposed by the Joint Technical Architecture (JTA) Development Group and the Global Information Grid (GIG).
1 Aircraft platform programs, such as a fighter, bomber, or transport aircraft, are categorized as ACAT I because of their large total acquisition cost.