Fleet Management at Fort Rucker

By Pillsbury, James H. | Army, January 2007 | Go to article overview

Fleet Management at Fort Rucker


Pillsbury, James H., Army


Mission readiness has improved across training base fleets by partnering branch-specific training centers and schools with the commodity-oriented major subordinate commands of the Army Materiel Command (AMC). Support and maintenance efficiencies have been achieved through fleet management principles.

The Fleet Management Initiative (FMI) formally began in February 2002 as a partnership between AMC and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). The goal of the effort was to assess the feasibility and desirability of transferring the TRADOC maintenance and supply mission at Fort Rucker, Ala., to AMC's major subordinate command, the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM). The rationale for the transfer was to optimize performance at Fort Rucker through alignment to the AMC/AMCOM aviation logistics core competencies and allow TRADOC to focus on its primary training mission.

The training fleet at Fort Rucker operates at maximum capacity daily, with aircraft flying two to three times the average monthly hours of aircraft in the field, the only exception being those deployed to support the war effort. Approximately 500 sorties are flown daily under a 24/7 operating tempo. Fort Rucker flies roughly onethird of the active Army flight hours with one-fourth of the Army's aircraft, many of which are among the oldest in the Army. Fleet management has improved the repair and maintenance processes through such efforts ns optimizing repair/buy decisions based tin triage review, improving time-on wing for repaired /overhaul components and streamlining government/contractor inspections that provide no valueadded to the primary mission.

The Aviation Center Logistics Command (ACLC) officially stood up in August 2004 with Col. Richard Enderle as its first commander. (Col. Howard Killian served as interim commander in 2003.) Col. Enderle and his staff of approximately 100 government employees, about 45 Department of Defense civilians and 55 military personnel oversee and manage the aircraft maintenance mission and contractor operations across five airfields and five aircraft fleets. There are 3,500 contractor personnel who provide the necessary aircraft maintenance and supply support. The sheer scope and breadth of the training mission and load requires and warrants the size of the civilian and military presence within ACLC.

In October 2003, AMCOM awarded a potential 10-year, $2.7 billion performance-based logistics contract for Fort Rucker aviation logistics support to Army Fleet Support, LLC. With incentives for mission performance, supply performance and cost control, the contract consisted of a oneyear base, two one-year options and up to seven additional option years based on performance.

Between fiscal year (FY) 2002 and FY 2006, AMCOM invested $10.4 million in operational and infrastructure requirements ranging from office automation equipment and a video teleconference capability, to personnel training at Fort Rucker. AMCOM was also instrumental in the construction of the new supply warehouse and headquarters building. Additional investments were made to hire and retain the Thomas Group Process Improvement industry consultants to support the ACLC and aid in analyzing daily operations. Cross-functional teams were established to quickly assess and implement process improvements, productivity increases and cost reductions. In addition, corresponding triage procedures were developed.

Lean Six Sigma techniques were introduced wherever possible to optimize operations and reduce operating costs in the shortest amount of time. Members from the AMCOM Lean cadre were also emplaced at Fort Rucker to support the ACLC in optimizing operations through process improvements. Enhanced effectiveness and efficiencies have been gained throughout the aircraft maintenance mission by initiating Lean Six Sigma techniques, identifying and removing barriers and succossfiilly teaming AMCOM and TRADOC along with supporting organizations. …

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