In 1999, naval aviation was in crisis. As leaders of naval aviation in the 1990s prioritized building the future force structure to replace an aging aircraft fleet, the existing fleet continued to age, and the budget to preserve and manage the aging fleet was continually cut. Naval aviation faced the unprecedented crisis of having a force not ready to fight, while losing a generation of leadership. The “stovepipes” of operations, maintenance, and supply that contributed to current readiness retrenched and sought to optimize their activities at the expense of others. If not addressed, this “downward death spiral” would have resulted in a greatly reduced force structure, and warfighting capability would have been compromised. Across the years 1999-2007, naval aviation created a different business model which valued cost wise readiness and developed the concept of single process ownership and the single fleet driven metric to establish a horizontal behavior model that valued aviation units ready for tasking at reduced cost—today, tomorrow, and in the future. They adopted continuous process improvement (AIRSpeed), public private partnerships, performance based logistics, and other tools to enable the transformation. Today, the cost of naval aviation current readiness is predictable, billions of dollars remain in the Future Years Defense Program to recapitalize the force, and the level of readiness (availability) that is required is understood, achieved, and maintained. The Naval Aviation Enterprise operates as a true enterprise where readiness at reduced cost is everyone’s responsibility. Today, the Air Force is experiencing the same crisis that naval aviation experienced in the late 1990S—aging aircraft fleets, austere budgets, and “stovepipes” that drive cost. This naval aviation enterprise concept is applicable in any government organization; but now, as service budgets face severe pressures, the Air Force could use this current crisis to adopt an enterprise model and change from a “business of consumption of resources” to one that values a “business of conservation of resources.”

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement