• Providing digital twins representing the current state of a physical component, system, or manufacturing enterprise for condition-based decision making.
• Integrating and visualizing as-maintained representations across the fleet and throughout the supply chain.
• Delivering individual and fleet life-cycle lessons learned back to designers and planners.
In response to a question about the one or two biggest areas where more needs to be done, Dr. Stevens cited the challenge of transitioning technology from the system development and acquisition world to the sustainment world. Different views on which organization has which responsibilities for preparing technology for implementation into sustainment applications are part of this challenge. At least as important are funding problems related to how expenditures are categorized for appropriations (which costs can be recovered from which pot of money). The business case for a sustainment application not only has to make sense on its own but also has to align with the available resources (the pots of money that are not empty).
A second question to Dr. Stevens and the workshop generally was this: What can be done to solve the problem of program-specific certification requirements for the same part or component used in different systems? Dr. Stevens replied that part of the problem could be addressed through new approaches to standardization of specifications. Dianne Chong added that the problem also exists for manufacturers who have merged the operations of multiple acquired companies. The solution there is seen as having a single system for recording and maintaining parts specifications. Corporate- or enterprise-wide initiatives are needed to address the problem of multiple distinct part numbers for what is in reality the same part.
A participant asked if it makes sense for DOD to emulate the best practices that industry has adopted to address problems such as those of multiple specifications for essentially the same part or of different part numbers/identifiers, each with its own specifications, for what is in reality the same physical part. Can the best industry-tested practices be moved into the defense establishment? The discussion of this question revolved around the difficulty of identifying and encouraging best practices across different organizations without becoming caught up in too-rigid specification of standards. Another question was how willing potential competitors might be to share approaches and practices that in some cases they might see as part of their competitive advantage.
On the problem of different OEM part numbers for the same physical part in different systems or in different subsystems or components of the same system, Royce Smith of the Air Force Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Materiel Shortages (DMSMS) Program said that while it is important to retain the original OEM part numbers in the system used for sustainment, they need to be linked to