Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gen Hoffman speaks at June session of AFA Air Force Breakfast Series

Science and Technology; Acquisitions; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); and Sustainment are the four major issues of Air Force Materiel Command, said Gen Donald Hoffman at today’s AFA Air Force Breakfast Series session.

Gen Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, oversees the 75,000 people who manage $59 billion annually while providing the acquisition management services and logistics support required to develop, procure and sustain Air Force weapon systems.

High-velocity penetrating weapons, reusable launch vehicles (RLVs, which are space vehicles designed to perform multiple missions) and tackling cyber are all on Gen Hoffman’s agenda for improving science and technology within his Command, realizing being technically prepared for the future is the number one major issue. Current research includes the exploration of nano technology, GPS-independent way of navigation.

Hoffman’s second major issue was acquisitions, with the goals being to maintain low protest rates (currently at a fraction of 1 percent), explore strategic opportunities, and stay on a path of controlling costs. Hoffman spotlighted the KC46 as a model of how other acquisitions may be done in the future, in which the process included establishing a firm, fixed price for development and obtaining data rights early on.

A goal for RDT&E: universal armament interfaces (interchangeable parts so all platforms can handle all weapons). To keep the Joint Star Fighter program running at top performance, operating air forces worldwide are implementing various upgrading programs and receiving the latest software.

“People, parts and process” are the core of sustainment, Hoffman said, in regards to his last major issue. Sustainment hit a highpoint in 2007, but has seen a downfall since as aircraft continue to age and budget restraints continue to emerge. However, procedures are now “trending in the right direction.” New policies have helped the depots “man up” to a new level, which were previously shorthanded. And high-velocity maintenance is allowing the total time aircraft are out of the warfight to be considerably shorter, changing the process of mending, upgrading and fixing planes and equipment.  

Check back later this week on AFA’s main site for transcripts of this event!

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