timeframe. The emphasis on sustainment has ebbed and flowed over the years: it was a major emphasis area in the early years, was less so during the FLTC era, and is receiving increased planning emphasis in today’s developing strategy. It is imperative in this changing environment that a comprehensive technology development and transition plan be completed and implemented with adequate resources and personnel to achieve the stated Air Force goals of ILCM.
During the past decade, a series of changes in processes for establishing requirements and allocating adequate resources has led to a far less than optimum usage of the highly qualified personnel in AFRL and the ALCs charged with sustainment tasks. This report was written during a period in which high-level changes to the S&T system were being developed but had not yet fully reached down into either the laboratory or the centers. The committee was encouraged to learn of the recommitment to a process that would lead to funding of high-priority areas to ensure transition. It was also encouraged to learn that sustainment is clearly identified in the recently released Air Force S&T plan and that a new program element has been established for this area. Pending rapid development of these new processes and their subsequent implementation, these steps all tend in the right direction for the Air Force.
Underlying all of the above is the issue of what specific technology development areas should be included in the mix when technology for sustainment is identified. Historically, sustainment technology referred primarily to issues developing during the life of already acquired systems. Detection of problems and technology for repair dominate that arena. Interaction with the ALCs and SPOs has been and remains critical to the identification of problems needing fixing and viable approaches to doing so. On the other hand, a broad area of technology development is intended to lead to longer life and less expensive maintenance that may be introduced into new systems. As the Air Force fully embraces the concept of ILCM now beginning to appear in high-level plans and visions, it will be necessary to broaden the common understanding of technology for sustainment to include those technologies and adequately support their development and transition into new systems. This subject is further explored in Chapter 6 under the heading Providing for Continued Incorporation of Technology for Sustainment.