Printer Friendly

Air mobility command: improving Aircraft maintenance recovery team processes.


The United States' (US) civilian and military leaders well recognize the need for speed in prosecuting military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
  • Albion (1917)
. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review
"QDR" redirects here. For the computer technology called QDR, see Quad Data Rate SRAM.

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is a report by the United States Department of Defense that analyzes strategic objectives and potential military
 places particular "emphasis on the ability to surge quickly to trouble spots across the globe." (1) This requirement is a testament to the position of America as the sole superpower, as well as a reflection of its willingness to engage around the world. Whether it's involved in a protracted pro·tract  
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.

 military struggle, supporting other nations in pursuing democratic principles, or conducting humanitarian operations, the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  has the ability to quickly reach out and take the lead in world affairs Noun 1. world affairs - affairs between nations; "you can't really keep up with world affairs by watching television"
international affairs

affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state"
. But speed is not the sole enabler of military power. In a 2001 speech, President George W. Bush noted that, "Military power is increasingly defined not by size and mass but by mobility and swiftness." (2)

The President's statement highlights that, in addition to bringing military capabilities swiftly to bear, the instruments themselves must be sufficiently mobile to make the transition from any starting location to any point of employment. Mobility of military assets is the responsibility of the United States Transportation Command The unified command with the mission to provide strategic air, land, and sea transportation and common-user port management for the Department of Defense across the range of military operations. Also called USTRANSCOM.  (USTRANSCOM USTRANSCOM United States Transportation Command ), whose stated mission is to "provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense (DoD), both in time of peace and time of war." (3) The Air Force plays a critical role in support of USTRANSCOM, defining rapid global mobility or, "the timely movement, positioning, and sustainment of military forces and capabilities through air and space, across the range of military operations," as a capability unique to the air service. (4) Air Mobility Command (AMC (Advanced Mezzanine Card) See AdvancedTCA. ) and its airlift aircraft fill this role on behalf of the Air Force.

Given the significance of AMC's role in rapid global mobility--not just for the Air Force but for the entire DoD--the United States cannot afford to lose any of its strategic airlift See intertheater airlift.  capability. For research purposes, this article narrowly defines lost strategic airlift capability as any of the two aircraft types comprising AMC's strategic airlift fleet (namely the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster III) that are broken and away from their station of assignment. To repair these aircraft when broken within the system, AMC currently utilizes a dedicated system of command and control, people, parts, and equipment--some of which are prepositioned, and some of which are available on an as-needed basis. Known as the Maintenance Recovery Team (MRT MRT,
n manual resistance technique, a treatment method used during the acute and recovery phases to relieve pain and rehabilitate the body's tissues and muscles.
) process, the system emphasizes identifying, troubleshooting, and fixing broken aircraft as quickly as possible, in order to maximize strategic airlift availability to DoD and other airlift customers.

With this in mind, this article will discuss AMC's strategic airlift role, identify AMC's MRT process, analyze AMC's historical MRT data for specific improvement opportunities, and where possible, recommend improvements leading to an increase in the efficiency of AMC's MRT process.


Air Mobility Command

The National Defense and Military Strategies call for rotating land forces in peacetime from the United States to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere for 4- to 5-month deployments to maintain that access and provide deterrence deterrence

Military strategy whereby one power uses the threat of reprisal to preclude an attack from an adversary. The term largely refers to the basic strategy of the nuclear powers and the major alliance systems.
. Therefore, strategic mobility is, as never before, a national imperative. (5) [Emphasis in original.]

While strategic mobility has become the cornerstone of US global engagement, to be most effective in promoting peace and deterring aggression, mobility must also include swiftness. When the military speaks of rapid global mobility (with respect to cargo movement), the term is generally synonymous with synonymous with
adjective equivalent to, the same as, identical to, similar to, identified with, equal to, tantamount to, interchangeable with, one and the same as
 strategic airlift. While it is true that the vast majority of DoD cargo moves by sea, it does not do so rapidly. (6) While sealift sea·lift  
tr.v. sea·lift·ed, sea·lift·ing, sea·lifts
To transport (troops or supplies) by sea, as when ground or air routes are blocked.

A system or an instance of such transport.
 provides the preponderance pre·pon·der·ance   also pre·pon·der·an·cy
Superiority in weight, force, importance, or influence.

Noun 1. preponderance
 of cargo movement, airlift offers the United States and its allies the speed and flexibility to move assets where needed in a timely manner. As the air arm of USTRANSCOM, AMC is the command of choice for moving cargo rapidly. (7)

The Air Force's cargo airlift mission is generally broken down into two main categories: intratheater and intertheater. Intratheater airlift Airlift conducted within a theater. Assets assigned to a geographic combatant commander or attached to a subordinate joint force commander normally conduct intratheater airlift operations. , generally synonymous with tactical airlift, describes cargo movement within a theater of operations Noun 1. theater of operations - a region in which active military operations are in progress; "the army was in the field awaiting action"; "he served in the Vietnam theater for three years"
field of operations, theatre of operations, theater, theatre, field
, and comprises such characteristics as relatively close range, smaller and lighter payloads to sustain units deployed within a theater, and the ability to operate on unimproved surfaces and utilize shorter lengths of runway? Intratheater airlifters are generally controlled by their respective combatant commands to support the theater's cargo movement requirements. Despite the tremendous role intratheater airlift assets play in global mobility, the vast majority of requirements are logistically supported by and within their theater of assignment. This article will focus on maintenance recovery of intertheater airlift The common-user airlift linking theaters to the continental United States and to other theaters as well as theairlift within the continental United States. The majority of these air mobility assets is assigned to the Commander, United States Transportation Command.  assets.

Intertheater airlift, synonymous with strategic airlift, refers to air movement of cargo between geographical theaters of operation and comprises such characteristics as size of the aircraft, range, and payload (1) Refers to the "actual data" in a packet or file minus all headers attached for transport and minus all descriptive meta-data. In a network packet, headers are appended to the payload for transport and then discarded at their destination.  capacity. Because of the high demand and the need to prioritize pri·or·i·tize  
v. pri·or·i·tized, pri·or·i·tiz·ing, pri·or·i·tiz·es Usage Problem
To arrange or deal with in order of importance.

 use of these crucial assets, the National Command Authority apportions strategic airlift aircraft among the Services and other forces. (9)

The two strategic airlift aircraft operated by the US Air Force are the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster III. With regard to capacity, these are the only two aircraft in the inventory capable of transporting outsized cargo Cargo which exceeds the dimensions of oversized cargo and requires the use of a C-5 or C-17 aircraft or surface transportation. A single item that exceeds 1,000 inches long by 117 inches wide by 105 inches high in any one dimension. See also oversized cargo. , (10) such as the Army's Abrams tank. (11) Differing from commercial aircraft with similar cargo capacity (such as the Boeing 747), C-5s and C-17s have air refueling The capability to refuel aircraft in flight, which extends presence, increases range, and serves as a force multiplier. Also called AR.  capability and are designed to operate in ground conditions not normally conducive to commercial aircraft operations. When augmented with air refueling, strategic airlift aircraft provide practically unlimited global reach. It is the strategic airlifters' swiftness, mobility, and unique capabilities that make them key components of national security.

Central to any discussion on improving AMC's MRT process is understanding the two primary methods for strategic airlift cargo movement, the first being the hub and spoke Any architecture that uses a central connecting point. It is the same as a star topology in a network. A network hub is hardware that functions as a central hub to all nodes. See hub and full mesh.

 concept, and the second being direct delivery. In the hub and spoke concept, cargo is loaded on a strategic airlift asset at one of several aerial ports of embarkation and delivered to a centralized cen·tral·ize  
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.

 main operating location, or aerial ports of debarkation (APOD). The cargo is then distributed via intratheater assets to various forward operating bases (FOB FOB 1) adj. short for Free on Board, meaning shipped to a specific place without cost. 2) Friend of Bill (Clinton). (See: Free on Board) ) within the theater. The APODs are considered the hubs, the FOBs the spokes. (12) One advantage of hub and spoke operations is that, similar to commercial airlines, the aircraft operate in and out of dedicated locations, allowing for prepositioning of command and control, cargo handling equipment, and maintenance capabilities to support transiting aircraft.

When performing the second method of cargo movement, direct delivery, strategic airlifters overfly o·ver·fly  
tr.v. o·ver·flew , o·ver·flown , o·ver·fly·ing, o·ver·flies
1. To fly over (a particular area or territory) in an aircraft or spacecraft.

 the APOD and deliver cargo straight to (or closer to) its final destination. A potential advantage to direct delivery is timeliness, with cargo arriving at its final destination significantly quicker than it would take to download, repackage re·pack·age  
tr.v. re·pack·aged, re·pack·ag·ing, re·pack·ag·es
To package again or anew, especially in a more attractive package.

, and deliver via intratheater means. However, due to the need to centralize cen·tral·ize  
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.

 and synergize efforts at cargo hubs, final destinations often do not retain the assets to fully support transiting strategic airlift assets, a distinct disadvantage. (13) For purposes of this article, this translates to an inability to effectively repair a broken aircraft. Before delving into specific discussions on more effectively supporting aircraft All active aircraft other than unit aircraft. See also aircraft.  recovery efforts, this article must first identify AMC' s current process for repairing strategic airlift aircraft broken in the system.

Global Air Mobility Support System

The Air Force attempts to minimize delays in its cargo delivery process through establishment and utilization of the Global Air Mobility Support System (GAMSS GAMSS Georgia Association Medical Staff Services
GAMSS Global Air Mobility Support System
). GAMSS combines those functions essential to effective air cargo air cargo: see aviation.  operations--command and control, aerial port An airfield that has been designated for the sustained air movement of personnel and materiel as well as an authorized port for entrance into or departure from the country where located. Also called APORT. See also port of debarkation; port of embarkation. , and maintenance--located in both the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS OCONUS Outside the Continental United States
OCONUS Outside Contiguous United States
). (14) With respect to strategic air mobility, two contingency response wings, one at Travis Air Force Base Travis Air Force Base (IATA: SUU, ICAO: KSUU) is a United States Air Force air base in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Travis Air Force Base is located within Fairfield, Calif, in the northeast part of town.  (AFB AFB
acid-fast bacillus

AFB Acid-fast bacillus, also 1. Aflatoxin B 2. Aorto-femoral bypass
) and one at McGuire AFB, constitute the bulk of the fixed active duty CONUS portion of GAMSS. Additionally, Air Reserve Component strategic airlift units located throughout the CONUS provide a significant amount of capability. AMC also operates key OCONUS locations as part of its fixed en route structure, all with varying degrees of aircraft maintenance capability. (15) See Figure 1 for the current GAMSS layout.

The en route locations serve two basic purposes with respect to strategic airlift. First, they act as APODs, often filling the role of the hub at which cargo is downloaded to be distributed to spokes throughout the rest of the theater. Second, and more importantly, they provide varying degrees of indigenous aircraft maintenance capability, with skilled technicians, tools, equipment, and parts to repair broken aircraft. Their existence ensures the continual flow of cargo from CONUS to OCONUS destinations--most importantly to downrange down·range  
adv. & adj.
In a direction away from the launch site and along the flight line of a missile test range: landed a thousand miles downrange; the downrange target area. 
 wartime locations--by minimizing the potential for cargo to be held up in the system or for aircraft to have to return to CONUS for maintenance repairs.

However, not all en route locations are equal in size and capability. En routes with higher numbers of transiting aircraft earn more manpower positions with a wider range of skill sets. Similarly, fiscal realities and parts availability necessarily limit the type and quantity of spares, with parts allocated to en route locations based on historic throughput and demand for individual components to effect repairs. Stations serving as regional hubs generally see more transiting aircraft and, therefore, retain greater variety and quantity of supply items. Examples of regional strategic airlift hubs include Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Yokota Air Base Yokota Air Base (横田空軍基地 Yokota Kūgun Kichi  in Japan, each with sufficient numbers of transient C-5s and C-17s to warrant forward deployment of such unique items as spare aircraft engines. Smaller en routes with less air traffic do not. As robust and effective as the GAMSS is, however, strategic airlift aircraft are often called upon to support mobility requirements outside the established system.


Part of the uniqueness of the Air Force's strategic airlift fleet is that the aircraft do not simply fly the same established routes day-in and day-out as do commercial passenger and cargo carriers. AMC is on call to support requests to carry cargo around the globe. Whether in support of DoD operations, State Department requirements, or helping free Willy willy

pl -lies Brit, Austral & NZ informal a childish or jocular word for penis
 the Whale, (16) C-5s and C-17s go to many locations around the world without organic aircraft maintenance capability. Making this even more of a challenge, unique aircraft systems and their associated maintenance requirements render support from non-US Air Force sources essentially nonexistent non·ex·is·tence  
1. The condition of not existing.

2. Something that does not exist.

. In contrast, because Air Force aerial refueling Aerial refueling, also called Air refueling or in-flight refueling (IFR) or air-to-air refueling (AAR) or (in the UK) tanking. Note that AAR also stands for "After Action Review" (de-briefing) and in aviation, IFR also stands for  aircraft are basically commercial derivatives (the KC-10 is the same basic airframe as the Boeing De-10, (17) and the KC-135 is the same basic airframe as the Boeing 707) (18) support for those military aircraft is often available from commercial airline maintenance counterparts at non-AMC locations.

The need to utilize strategic airlifters worldwide and their unique capabilities in payload and off-road characteristics, combined with their airframe uniqueness in the world of aviation, makes them virtually unsupportable outside of AMC. Unfortunately, when the aircraft are broken they are not carrying out their cargo missions--enter the Tanker Airlift Control Center The Air Mobility Command direct reporting unit responsible for tasking and controlling operational missions for all activities involving forces supporting US Transportation Command's global air mobility mission.  (TACC).

Tanker Airlift Control Center

The TACC is AMC's global air operations center See: tactical air control center. , with responsibility for planning, scheduling, and tracking aircraft in support of strategic airlift and other AMC missions worldwide. The organization ensures centralized control 1. In air defense, the control mode whereby a higher echelon makes direct target assignments to fire units. 2. In joint air operations, placing within one commander the responsibility and authority for planning, directing, and coordinating a military operation or group/category of  of scarce strategic aircraft by validating customer airlift requirements, linking them with available airlift assets, and directing and tracking mission execution. (19) A significant aspect of tracking air mobility operations is identifying aircraft that are unable to perform their missions due to maintenance problems.


Given the tremendous importance of strategic airlift to the DoD and other government agencies, centrally controlling the aircraft maintenance recovery function is a high priority for AMC. The Logistics Control section within the TACC, otherwise known as XOCL, is the command's focal point focal point
See focus.
 for sourcing and tasking the appropriate maintenance personnel, parts, and equipment needed to repair aircraft broken in the system while performing AMC missions. To most effectively manage maintenance recovery operations Operations conducted to search for, locate, identify, rescue, and return personnel, sensitive equipment, or items critical to national security. , XOCL oversees three primary components of the MRT process:

* Identify not mission capable aircraft

* Size, source, and task resources to effect repairs

* Oversee and effect repairs

As AMC's 24-hour command and control function, the TACC retains near real-time visibility of all aircraft performing missions for the command. "Successful and expedient ex·pe·di·ent  
1. Appropriate to a purpose.

a. Serving to promote one's interest: was merciful only when mercy was expedient.

 recovery of [maintenance] delayed aircraft depends upon accurate and timely communication between field personnel and XOCL." (20) At fixed AMC locations, CONUS or OCONUS, the maintenance operations center The facility or location on an installation, base, or facility used by the commander to command, control, and coordinate all crisis activities. See also base defense operations center; command center.  (MOC MOC

See Market on Close.
) notifies XOCL of aircraft status and, if needed, identifies resources required to accomplish repairs. When broken at locations outside of GAMSS, responsibility for notifying XOCL falls to the mission aircrew. (21) While the aircraft commander retains overall responsibility, the crew's flight engineers and, in the case of the C-5, flying crew chief (FCC (1) (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications including wire, cable, radio, TV and satellite. The FCC was created under the U.S. ), provide general maintenance expertise while away from GAMSS locations.

Sizing the Requirement

Once notified of an aircraft requiring logistics support, XOCL begins to size, source, and task resources to effect repairs. Broken aircraft generally require three types of assistance--parts only, experienced maintenance personnel, or specialized tools or equipment--and support often requires a combination of the three. In sizing the required amount of support, XOCL works with the most knowledgeable person at the broken aircraft's location. GAMSS locations and forward deployed air bases are generally staffed with qualified maintenance technicians who are capable of troubleshooting aircraft malfunctions to the parts and equipment necessary to effect repairs. In those cases the MOC, or deployed equivalent, notifies XOCL with specific parts nomenclature nomenclature /no·men·cla·ture/ (no´men-kla?cher) a classified system of names, as of anatomical structures, organisms, etc.

binomial nomenclature
, quantity, and other personnel or equipment items necessary to repair the broken aircraft. At all other locations without experienced maintenance technicians, the aircrew or FCC identifies the required resources. When the nature of a malfunction mal·func·tion
1. To fail to function.

2. To function improperly.

1. Failure to function.

2. Faulty or abnormal functioning.
 is such that neither the GAMSS location nor the aircrew or FCC can identify the solution, XOCL either solely or in conjunction with personnel at the aircraft's location, communicates the nature of the problem to home station maintenance experts. Together they determine what is necessary to recover the broken aircraft.

Sourcing the Requirement

After sizing the requirement, XOCL then determines the source of parts, people, or equipment to most effectively accomplish repairs. When aircraft parts are required, XOCL works directly with the Mobility Air Forces (MAF MAF

macrophage activating factor.
) Logistics Support Center (LSC LSC Learning and Skills Council
LSC Legal Services Commission (UK)
LSC Legal Services Corporation
LSC Lyndon State College (Lyndonville, VT)
LSC Learning Skills Council
LSC Life Safety Code
) to locate assets in the supply system. (22) The MAF LSC, collocated with XOCL at Scott Air Force Base Scott Air Force Base (IATA: BLV, ICAO: KBLV, FAA LID: BLV) is a base of the United States Air Force in St. Clair County, Illinois near Belleville which are in the St. Louis metropolitan area. , serves as AMC's centralized supply command and control function. With visibility over all aircraft parts in the AMC supply system, at XOCL's request the MAF LSC locates and directs shipment of parts based on recovery location and available transportation.

When maintenance technicians and equipment are required, XOCL generally sources them from one of the GAMSS locations with primary responsibility for the affected aircraft type. The en routes generally have sufficient resources to respond to MRT requests and, being forward deployed, they often offer the advantage of more timely support. However, the nature of the aircraft discrepancy is often such that the depth of experience required to troubleshoot and repair the broken aircraft must come from more knowledgeable home station technicians. Similarly, there may be insufficient specialized maintenance equipment resident in the en route system, necessitating that XOCL source the items from the better-equipped home stations. In every case, timeliness is a key consideration in sourcing an MRT.


While it is understood that safety is always the overriding concern, the single most important factor in the MRT process is speed. As previously noted, the strategic airlift fleet is critical to the nation's defense. Aircraft broken in the system are not only unable to get their current cargo loads to the required destinations, they are also unavailable to provide timely support to future airlift taskings. XOCL works to mitigate the impact of broken aircraft by sourcing the fastest available support. Within reason, cost and other factors are considered, but priority is generally given to earliest possible recovery. (23) Given the need for speed, providing resources usually becomes a factor of available transportation.

Because resources and transportation often coincide at GAMSS locations, military aircraft (MILAIR) are a primary source of MRT support. (24) Using AMC's command and control database, the Global Decision Support System 2 (GDSS GDSS Group Decision Support System
GDSS Global Decision Support System
GDSS Gender & Development Seminar Series
GDSS Global Defense Support System
GDSS Ground Defense Subsector Status Product (WCCS)
GDSS Good Day Sunshine
 2), XOCL identifies all existing and scheduled AMC flights into the broken aircraft's location, and then determines whether or not required resources can be collected and loaded on, or transported to meet up with, one of those aircraft. Depending on the mission priorities of both the broken aircraft and the potential support aircraft, the latter may be delayed or rescheduled to accommodate the MRT process. If currently scheduled AMC mission aircraft do not transit the broken aircraft's location or if they are not expeditious ex·pe·di·tious  
Acting or done with speed and efficiency. See Synonyms at fast1.

 enough, XOCL pursues other means of supporting the MRT.

Due to the seemingly ubiquitous nature of commercial transportation, airlines and commercial cargo (such as FedEx or UPS) and passenger (such as United) carriers are often the most effective means to facilitate an MRT. XOCL is authorized to direct movement of recovery assets via these methods. Working with transportation management flight personnel at the sourced location, and in coordination with the aircrew and maintainers at the broken aircraft's location, XOCL coordinates passenger tickets on airlines, or parts and equipment shipment via commercial air or ground transportation, as required to expedite ex·pe·dite  
tr.v. ex·pe·dit·ed, ex·pe·dit·ing, ex·pe·dites
1. To speed up the progress of; accelerate.

 repairs. (25) There are, however, situations where commercial transportation is unable to meet MRT requirements. Recoveries with sizable siz·a·ble also size·a·ble  
Of considerable size; fairly large.

siza·ble·ness n.
 logistics parts or equipment needs (for example, when an aircraft engine must be replaced), MRTs for items incompatible with commercial transport (explosives or other hazardous materials), or support requests to locations not serviced by commercial carriers must necessarily be facilitated via indigenous means.

A third option available to the TACC for supporting aircraft broken away from home station is to divert or schedule an AMC aircraft for the sole purpose of supporting the MRT. The advantages of using indigenous aircraft include sufficient capacity to transport large recovery packages, access to locations unserviceable by commercial means, control over such factors as sourcing and timing, and the ability to move cargo from the broken to the recovery aircraft in order to keep the mission moving. Disadvantages include the significant cost to operate an AMC aircraft, lost ability of the recovery asset to perform other missions, and the potential for the recovery aircraft to break while supporting the MRT. A careful risk or benefit assessment is always necessary when determining how to best recover strategic airlifters broken away from home station.


Having identified the importance of timely and effective mobility of DoD and other US assets, how AMC contributes air mobility in support of USTRANSCOM, how the TACC oversees employment of C-5s and C-17s, and XOCL's significant role in keeping strategic airlifters moving through the system, this article will now analyze XOCL' s process for identifying, tracking, and recovering these aircraft with an eye toward identifying potential improvements and efficiencies.


AMC utilizes GDSS 2 as its centralized database for commanding and controlling aircraft. Implemented in 2004, the system provides unit- and headquarters-level managers with visibility over all MAF airlift and mobility missions from plan to task to execution. (26) As part of its integrated design The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.
Please help [ improve the introduction] to meet Wikipedia's layout standards. You can discuss the issue on the talk page.
, GDSS 2 includes a logistics application which allows XOCL personnel to track MRT data. Once notified by GAMSS or aircrew personnel of a C-5 or C-17 broken in the system, XOCL controllers track the aircraft by inputting into GDSS 2 specific associated factors, such as aircraft tail number, location, nature of the discrepancy, and others to include a running sequence of events detailing specific actions as they transpire from initial notification to final resolution (including the return of recovery personnel, parts, and equipment to their stations of origin). The flexibility of the system allows XOCL controllers to retain real-time visibility and to update each individual record across shift changes and over the course of several days or weeks of individual aircraft recovery operations.

More than just a system for tracking current operations, the logistics feature of GDSS 2 enables those with access to review historical aircraft recovery data, whether for purposes of recalling specific issues or to facilitate analysis for process improvement. AMC appears to utilize GDSS 2 relatively infrequently in·fre·quent  
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.

 in the latter capacity, at least with respect to identifying improvements specific to the MRT process. Several reasons may explain this lack of utilization.

First, the command has an existing process for determining maintenance and supply requirements for both home stations and for the en route system. Manpower and maintenance skill sets are apportioned ap·por·tion  
tr.v. ap·por·tioned, ap·por·tion·ing, ap·por·tions
To divide and assign according to a plan; allot: "The tendency persists to apportion blame as suits the circumstances" 
 based on aircraft workload (number of aircraft assigned to home stations and number of aircraft transiting en route locations). In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, maintainers are stationed where the aircraft normally go. MRTs, on the other hand, are theoretically developed to support aircraft broken at locations outside the GAMSS, which are by definition, places where AMC does not anticipate the need for permanent or long-term support. While it is true a significant number of MRTs support requirements at GAMSS locations, their maintenance manpower requirements Human resources needed to accomplish specified work loads of organizations.  have already been factored in and risk accepted for those instances when specific skill sets have either been limited or have not been assigned. One example is fuel systems maintenance capability in the en route system. Of the AMC en route locations in Europe, only one (Ramstein Air Base) has permanently assigned fuels maintenance technicians qualified to work on C-5s and C-17s. (27) AMC banks on the infrequency of fuels-related discrepancies and accepts the risk that any aircraft that develop them will either relocate to Ramstein AB for repairs or that an MRT will be required. Given the less than permanent nature of MRTs, one does not expect historical GDSS 2 data related to aircraft recoveries to be particularly useful in determining permanent manpower basing requirements.

Similarly, AMC distributes aircraft parts based on demand data. The parts that break the most are, over time, positioned where demand has historically been the greatest. The supply system does not generally recognize demand for non-GAMSS locales, because the parts to fix aircraft at these locations are ordered from GAMSS bases, often from the broken aircraft's home station. Because the parts ordered to support MRTs do register for the GAMSS ordering locations, they are recognized and incorporated into the overall supply system requirements To be used efficiently, all computer software needs certain hardware components or other software resources to be present on a computer system. These pre-requisites are known as (computer) system requirements and are often used as a guideline as opposed to an absolute rule.  chain. In other words, AMC uniformly adjusts GAMSS supply levels for all parts ordered through the supply system irrespective of irrespective of
Without consideration of; regardless of.

irrespective of
preposition despite 
 whether or not they were ordered as MRT support. Therefore, one does not expect historical GDSS 2 data to be particularly useful in determining permanent spare parts Spare parts, also referred to as Service Parts is a term used to indicate extra parts available and in proximity to the mechanical item, such as a automobile, boat, engine, for which they might be used.

Spare parts are also called “spares.

A second reason AMC appears to use historical logistics data from GDSS 2 for process improvement relatively infrequently, is that the XOCL, TACC, and A4 (Logistics, Installations, and Mission Support) functions evaluate and adjust processes and procedures real-time. Because each aircraft XOCL supports is followed from inception to completion, anomalies to perceived norms are briefed, questioned, and dealt with as they occur. For example, when people, parts, or equipment are not ready to go on time and miss scheduled support rides, managers at appropriate levels engage to determine potential culpability culpability (See: culpable) , accountability, and procedural improvements to prevent future recurrence recurrence /re·cur·rence/ (-ker´ens) the return of symptoms after a remission.recur´rent

. Unfortunately, while targeted solutions to specific problems are potentially effective for the individuals, units, circumstances, and times in question, they do not necessarily prevent similar problems from occurring at other locations at other times. This is not to say AMC does not implement broad and enduring MRT process improvements based on individual situations; rather, it is to say that in the absence of a structured analytical approach to MRTs, AMC may be missing opportunities to improve the overall recovery process and potentially decrease maintenance downtime The time during which a computer is not functioning due to hardware, operating system or application program failure.  for the nation's strategic airlift assets.

As noted previously, utilizing historical MRT data from GDSS 2 may not be particularly useful for determining permanent manpower and spare parts requirements, but it may, in fact, prove useful for analyzing past aircraft recovery efforts for potential improvements across the entire MRT process. One logical starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo

commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the
, and the focus of the remainder of this article, is to analyze XOCL's interface with GDSS 2 and to determine the system's suitability for facilitating future efforts at improving the MRT process.

Analysis for July 2007

Although the TACC began using GDSS 2 in 2004, XOCL did not begin inputting data into the logistics portion of the database until June of 2007. (28) At the time data were extracted from the system for purposes of this analysis (August 2007), there were only 2 full months of historical MRT data: June and July 2007. Because June marked the data transition from GDSS to GDSS 2, that month's data were initially reviewed, but they were ultimately not factored in with this analysis because of the potential for inaccuracies associated with the transition to the new system. Additionally, given the unforeseen amounts of time and effort required to sort through 31 days worth of MRT records, the scope of this analysis was narrowed from the original intent. In July 2007 XOCL tracked 327 individual aircraft records: 129 C-17s, 88 C-5s, 55 KC-135s, 41 C-130s, 13 KC-10s, and 1 C-21. (29) The original intent of this article was to review MRT data for both of AMC' s strategic airlifters; however, the monumental commitment involved made that proposition untenable. Therefore, this article's analysis focuses exclusively on the 88 C-5 MRT records for July 2007. (See Table 1 and Figure 2.)

Actual Supports versus Non-Supports

One of the first tasks was to segregate seg·re·gate  
v. seg·re·gat·ed, seg·re·gat·ing, seg·re·gates
1. To separate or isolate from others or from a main body or group. See Synonyms at isolate.

 those MRT records with actual support data from those that were entered into GDSS 2 for tracking but were eventually resolved without XOCL action. As previously noted in the XOCL section of this article, GAMSS command and control functions (or the aircraft' s crew if outside the GAMSS) are required to notify XOCL when aircraft are experiencing maintenance problems, regardless of whether or not support will be required. This requirement keeps the TACC informed of potential delays to current AMC missions and enables XOCL controllers to begin preparing for possible MRT support. It is important to note that tracking ultimately nonsupported aircraft is a necessary and potentially time consuming task, and it is only after an aircraft is repaired or determined able to continue without an MRT that it becomes in fact a nonsupport The failure of one individual to provide financial maintenance for another individual in spite of a legal obligation to do so.

Nonsupport of a spouse or child is a crime in some states and a ground for Divorce in certain jurisdictions. Cross-references

Child Support.
. Of the 88 C-5 records for July 2007, 54 (61 percent) were monitored without the need to generate an MRT. The remaining 34 (39 percent) were actually supported by XOCL. See Table 2 for a breakdown of the 34 C-5 actuals.

Given these statistics it is interesting to note three telling points. First, the fact that the majority of C-5 records were eventually identified as nonsupports (54 of 88) suggests that the GAMSS and those aircrews operating outside the system effectively communicate with XOCL in accordance with AMCI AMCI Advanced Micro Controls Inc.
AMCI Automotive Marketing Consultants, Inc.
AMCI Air Mobility Command Instruction
AMCI Associazione Italiana Medici Cattolici (Italian Association of Catholic Physicians) 
 21-108, Logistics Support Operations. In other words, field personnel aren't calling in only when they need support; they call in to ensure information flow. Second, while it is obviously difficult to draw conclusions given the limited data considered, it is interesting to note that more than half of C-5 supports went to locations within the AMC en route system designed to support these aircraft. One would expect a majority of supports to occur outside the GAMSS. Third, and related to the second point, the fact that more than 90 percent of C-5s supported required parts--to include 88 percent of recoveries affected within the GAMSS--poses potentially significant questions for further analysis within AMC's supply function. While interesting in and of themselves, and potential fodder fodder

feed for herbivorous animals, usually used to describe dried leafy material such as hay. See also forage.

fodder beet
a root crop grown solely as a source of feed for cattle, possibly sheep.
 for additional research, this article does not pursue these statistics any further but instead focuses analysis on the XOCL/GDSS 2 interface.

XOCL Input into GDSS 2

One of the challenges with analyzing GDSS 2 historical logistics data is, given both the current structure of the logistics database and XOCL's method of inputting information, it is difficult to identify specific trend data for process improvement. There are, for example, insufficient data fields available to begin to target procedural deficiencies for individual subprocesses; this article will later make recommendations in this regard. However, given the database' s current framework, it is quickly evident that either the input into individual aircraft records is flawed flaw 1  
1. An imperfection, often concealed, that impairs soundness: a flaw in the crystal that caused it to shatter. See Synonyms at blemish.

, the GDSS 2 database itself has software deficiencies, or a combination of the two. Utilizing the GDSS 2 historical master record for each C-5 supported in July 2007, this article will now identify challenges with XOCL/GDSS 2 interface and will, in a later section, recommend solutions.

The first of the inconsistencies appears in the data field LOC LOC - lines of code  ICAO ICAO
International Civil Aeronautics Organization

Noun 1. ICAO - the United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation
International Civil Aviation Organization
 (location International Civil Aviation Organization International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), specialized agency of the United Nations, organized in 1947, with headquarters at Montreal. The objective of the ICAO, which has 187 member nations, is to encourage the orderly growth of international civil aviation, ), (30) an entry intended to show at which CONUS or international location a specific aircraft broke. Of the 88 C-5 records for July 2007, only 4 (approximately 5 percent) reflected the correct support location. This analysis was conducted by comparing the ICAO found in the LOC ICAO field with the verbiage verbiage - When the context involves a software or hardware system, this refers to documentation. This term borrows the connotations of mainstream "verbiage" to suggest that the documentation is of marginal utility and that the motives behind its production have little to do with  contained in the LRC (Longitudinal Redundancy Check) An error checking method that generates a parity bit from a specified string of bits on a longitudinal track. In a row and column format, such as on magnetic tape, LRC is often used with VRC, which creates a parity bit for each  REMARKS section (input by XOCL controllers) of the 88 individual historical records. It should be noted that while in 5 of the 88 records the actual aircraft location could not be accurately determined, it was clear from the context of the remarks section that the LOC ICAO field was not accurate. Given that XOCL controllers utilize GDSS 2 ICAO information for all active records on a daily basis to make support decisions and to provide status updates, it is likely the field was properly populated pop·u·late  
tr.v. pop·u·lat·ed, pop·u·lat·ing, pop·u·lates
1. To supply with inhabitants, as by colonization; people.

 when the record was active and that the problem with the historical records lies not with XOCL, but rather within the historical portion of the GDSS 2 database itself. The presence of incorrect information in the historical LOC ICAO field is, nonetheless, significant. In looking for trends associated with the MRT process, it will be extremely important to determine where the aircraft have broken and what support, if any, was sent to which location.

The second inconsistency in·con·sis·ten·cy  
n. pl. in·con·sis·ten·cies
1. The state or quality of being inconsistent.

2. Something inconsistent: many inconsistencies in your proposal.
 appears in the PACING data field. In the case of multiple aircraft discrepancies, this field is designed to identify which one is causing the aircraft to be grounded and awaiting an MRT or, when multiple grounding items exist, which one is driving the most extensive projected repair time. Additionally, when XOCL is supporting a grounding discrepancy, at GAMSS or aircrew request, XOCL often simultaneously tracks and supports otherwise flyable discrepancies for the same aircraft with the intention of preventing them from degenerating into grounding conditions. In other words, the intent is to fix a problematic but flyable discrepancy while the aircraft is already grounded vice waiting for it to possibly break further down the road. In both cases, flagging the correct pacing item will enable analysts to focus future research on the major items contributing to the MRT requirement. Of the 88 C-5 records, none correctly identified a pacing maintenance discrepancy, despite the fact that 26 records (30 percent) actually contained multiple aircraft discrepancies. The only way to determine the correct pacing item is to read through the LRC REMARKS section of each individual record.

A third inconsistency appears in the DISCREPANCY data field itself, which identifies the actual maintenance problem (or problems) generating the need for an MRT. Of the 88 C-5 records, 18 (20 percent) contained DISCREPANCY data fields where the discrepancy verbiage had been replaced by the word "CLOSE." It is unclear whether this is the result of a GDSS 2 software glitch A temporary or random hardware malfunction. It is possible that a bug in a program may cause the hardware to appear as if it had a glitch in it and vice versa. At times it can be extremely difficult to determine whether a problem lies within the hardware or the software. See glitch attack.  or if XOCL controllers purposely pur·pose·ly  
With specific purpose.


on purpose
USAGE: See at purposeful.

Adv. 1.
 amend records to reflect that a discrepancy has been corrected. For historical purposes this field should retain the actual discrepancy verbiage; otherwise, a future analysis requirement may necessitate ne·ces·si·tate  
tr.v. ne·ces·si·tat·ed, ne·ces·si·tat·ing, ne·ces·si·tates
1. To make necessary or unavoidable.

2. To require or compel.
 sorting through the LRC REMARKS section to determine the maintenance problem. While in individual cases this may not prove to be too onerous on·er·ous  
1. Troublesome or oppressive; burdensome. See Synonyms at burdensome.

2. Law Entailing obligations that exceed advantages.
 a task, in some cases the actual discrepancy is not reflected in the remarks section at all.

The fourth and final XOCL/GDSS 2 interface challenge identified as part of this analysis is the GDSS 2 accounting of total time broken for supported aircraft. Researchers with GDSS 2 access can utilize the Logistics Support Tool feature to pull up broad synopses of historical MRT taskings. These synopses are useful in that they package pertinent information by time frame and by data field, eliminating the often lengthy LRC REMARKS section and allowing for greater ease of use (assuming, of course, that individual record remarks are not required as part of the research). One of the advantages of this tool is it identifies the total amount of time each supported aircraft was broken in the system, extremely useful data in a business where downtime for maintenance equates to lost potential revenue or, more importantly, delays in getting cargo to the warfighter. The challenge in this case is that the TIME BROKE field does not always reflect the aircraft's correct total not mission capable time. GDSS 2 calculates total time broken using two other data fields on the same report--BREAK DTG DTG Date-Time Group
DTG Digital Television Group (UK trade association)
DTG Distance To Go
DTG Days To Go
DTG Digital Transmission Group
DTG Direct Trunk Group
DTG Digital Trunk Group
DTG Dance Theatre of the Gospel
 (the approximate date and time GAMSS or aircrew personnel notified XOCL of a particular discrepancy) and FIX DTG (the date and time maintenance personnel notified XOCL the aircraft was repaired or flyable)both input by XOCL. This analysis has determined that while BREAK DTG information in GDSS 2 is reliable, data in the FIX DTG field often does not match the time reflected in the LRC REMARKS section. Of the 34 actual C-5 recoveries, 11 (32 percent) reflected FIX DTG times that differed from the LRC REMARKS section by 1 hour or greater. This resulted in GDSS 2 reflecting total C-5 time broke (for July 2007) as 153.8 days versus 79.7 days according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the more reliable LRC REMARKS section. Two potential reasons for the disparity are GDSS 2 software issues or inaccurate XOCL input (either neglecting to input completion data or incorrectly loading the time all related MRT personnel, parts, or equipment were returned to home station vice the time the aircraft was actually repaired). This issue is significant and must be addressed if GDSS 2 data is to be used for MRT process improvement.

Other Findings

In addition to the XOCL/GDSS 2 interface findings noted above, the July 2007 C-5 data yielded several other findings that should serve as additional basis for future MRT process improvement. (As a note of caution, multiple supports in Figure 2 may have simultaneous actions resulting in a combined percentage greater than 100; non-multiple supports are purely sequential by definition and the collective averages approximate 98 percent to 100 percent of their total support times.)

* The average C-5 MRT takes approximately 2.3 days.

* On average, the transportation tasking portion of the MRT process takes the least time, 85 minutes, with XOCL identifying available rides in less than 3 percent of the total process time.

* On average, the entire size, source, and task portions of the MRT process constitute approximately 13 percent of the total time, which equates to approximately 7.4 hours per record.

* On average, 68 percent of the total MRT process, or 1.6 days per record, is spent awaiting transportation of MRT assets from the sourced location to the broken aircraft's location. This requirement takes more than twice as long as the next most time consuming part of the process and should, therefore, be a primary target of future analysis. Specific areas for future analysis should include mode of transport (airline, MILAIR, and commercial cargo carrier), sourced base preparation procedures, carrier delivery procedures, and receiving base procedures.

* On average, 33 percent of the total MRT process, or 18.3 hours, is spent fixing a broken aircraft once MRT assets arrive. When multiple supports are not required for the same aircraft, the percentage decreases to 20 percent (approximately 7.4 hours per record) of the total MRT process. Specific areas for future analysis should include procedures to get MRT assets from delivery location to the broken aircraft, MRT qualifications, and troubleshooting procedures. (See specific recommendation that follows, Deploy Multiple MRT Teams.)


LOC ICAO Data Field

Correct the deficiency with the LOC ICAO data field in the GDSS 2 historical logistics support database. While identifying the correct LOC ICAO from the LRC REMARKS section of a single record may not be terribly onerous, to identify all MRT supports to a specific location by combing through individual records would not only be impractical im·prac·ti·cal  
1. Unwise to implement or maintain in practice: Refloating the sunken ship proved impractical because of the great expense.

 in today's age of information, it would be virtually impossible. The ability to accurately identify XOCL supports by location will enable analysts to potentially target specific locales for process improvement. For example, comparing overall aircraft maintenance trends with MRT supports to certain desirable locations (Australia, Hawaii, or Germany in September) may result in a targeted decrease in aircraft not mission capable time. Similarly, a large or unusual number of MRTs to the same location to support cut or worn tires may help identify issues with a local runway, taxiway taxiway: see airport. , or parking ramp. Finally, significant numbers of supports to a given location may point to a need to add or increase the number of flying crew chiefs (or other maintenance personnel) assigned to support a particular airlift mission.

PACING Data Field

Correct the deficiency with the PACING data field, either via software update or, if simply a procedural problem, ensure XOCL controllers properly input the required data. Identifying the grounding discrepancy or, in case of multiples, the driving one, will help focus future analytical efforts. Additionally, recommend programmers include an option to identify sequential pacing items within the same record. This will accommodate circumstances when a subsequent grounding discrepancy becomes the new pacing item once the original pacing item is repaired.


Correct the deficiency with the DISCREPANCY data field, either via software update or through XOCL data input procedures. Identifying the actual discrepancy will help focus future analytical efforts and avoid the potential for researchers to have to read through the LRC REMARKS section of individual support records.

FIX DTG Data Field

Correct the deficiency with the FIX DTG data field, either via software update or through XOCL data input procedures. TIME BROKE is a significant metric for mission and logistics support planning, as well as an indicator for XOCL process improvement. The alternative to accurate GDSS 2 data, sorting through individual support record remarks, should make fixing this data entry a high priority.

Create Additional GDSS Data Fields

If AMC is to utilize GDSS 2 data to evaluate and improve the MRT process, it must first adjust the database and XOCL data input procedures to quickly and reliably capture and produce the necessary information. In addition to the current data field suggestions above, AMC should consider software upgrades to include new fields for data extraction Data extraction is the act or process of retrieving (binary) data out of (usually unstructured or badly structured) data sources for further data processing or data storage (data migration).  and analysis. The ultimate purpose of these fields is to help analysts systematically evaluate and focus on potential subprocess anomalies, especially if paired with metrics for each of the subprocesses. See Table 3 for recommended additional data fields.

Deploy Multiple MRT Teams

With respect to maintenance time to repair an aircraft once MRT assets have arrived, another area for evaluation is work and rest cycles and the number of technicians or teams sent to repair an aircraft. In some instances the time from MRT asset arrival until aircraft fixed is significantly lengthened length·en  
tr. & intr.v. length·ened, length·en·ing, length·ens
To make or become longer.

lengthen·er n.
 by maintainer rest requirements. Obviously, work and rest cycles are a necessity and should not be violated; rather, it may be that given a known multishift recovery operation; XOCL should consider sending sufficient personnel to work around the clock (two teams on 12-hour shifts). This would likely be done only on a case-by-case basis, such as supporting high visibility mission maintenance recovery operations, when a multishift operation is determined to be feasible and effective, and when manpower availability will accommodate. The potential payoff, however, would be approximately 12 hours saved for a 24-hour job, approximately 36 hours saved for a 48-hour job, and so forth.

Develop Time Standards for MRT Process or Subprocesses

Establishing time standards for each of the subprocesses (to include those identified in Table 3), as well as an overall MRT time line, is key to process improvement. Granted, although the same basic processes apply to all MRTs, the individual circumstances such as location and nature of repair, make it difficult to draw conclusions by comparing and contrasting individual supports. However, establishing basic standards for the overall process and subprocesses will help evaluators target specific portions of specific recoveries for analysis. XOCL controllers should develop a baseline against which to compare future subprocess time lines, with possible consideration given to establishing separate standards for different categories of support, such as support to CONUS, OCONUS, GAMSS, and nonGAMSS locations outside the US. As a starting point, the average times for non-multiple supports identified in Figure 2 may be used to develop standards for C-5 MRTs. Standards for some of the proposed data fields in Table 3 will require additional analysis to determine appropriate time lines, preferably facilitated by the GDSS 2 software upgrades recommended previously. Different MDSs may require separate standards to account for variances in parts and technician availability and current support methods such as C-17 contracted logistics support. Although more detailed standards will more effectively target improvement areas, even a single set of standards for all MRTs will likely facilitate some degree of process improvement. In the absence of a standardized approach to measuring and identifying process deficiencies, MRT process improvement will continue to be situational at best.


The US government places tremendous significance on global engagement. Whether it's military action to deter aggression, humanitarian assistance to troubled areas, or supplying US embassies and other deployed personnel around the world, rapid and agile mobility plays a key role in meeting America's security objectives. That means strategic airlift, now and for the foreseeable future, provides critical capabilities vital to our national interests. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Air Force and specifically Air Mobility Command to work toward minimizing the amount of time our C-5s and C-17s remain broken within the system as they carry out their global airlift mission. This effort begins with the TACC and its logistics control function, the XOCL.

Unfortunately, while the current MRT process ensures airlifters broken away from home station are eventually repaired and put back into service (and arguably ar·gu·a·ble  
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.

2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law.
 does so effectively), there is little evidence that much is done outside the normal manpower and parts placement systems to systematically analyze and improve the overall MRT process. As noted earlier in this article, this is not to say that AMC does not make efforts to improve real-time on a case-by-case basis; rather, it suggests that in order to more effectively minimize strategic airlifter downtime, the command must implement analytical procedures specific to the MRT process itself, beginning with the XOCL's sizing, sourcing, and tasking subprocesses. The current mechanism for reviewing and assessing historical data, the GDSS 2 database, as currently configured and utilized, is largely ineffective at meeting the analytical need.

In order to improve the MRT process, logistics personnel must first have access to sufficient and specific data enabling them to target areas for improvement. Currently, the only way to focus any analytical effort is to perform a painstaking pains·tak·ing  
Marked by or requiring great pains; very careful and diligent. See Synonyms at meticulous.

Extremely careful and diligent work or effort.
, time-consuming review of each individual aircraft recovery record, a method so inefficient as to be essentially worthless. Therefore, the journey toward MRT process improvement begins with the data accumulation and evaluation mechanisms themselves. As proposed in the recommendations section of this article, AMC must implement three actions if it is to begin gathering the data to improve the aircraft recovery process. First, it must correct data input and access issues with currently existing data fields in GDSS 2. Corrections will likely include XOCL reviewing and improving procedures to ensure maintenance controllers input clear, concise, and accurate data, as well as software fixes to GDSS 2 to ensure the data is accurately transferred from active to historical records. Second, in order to effectively target process improvement efforts, XOCL should work with system programmers to add specific data fields within GDSS 2 to account for the varied MRT subprocesses. Third, XOCL should develop and track basic time standards for the overall MRT process and its individual subprocesses, that will enable researchers to focus on those events having adverse impacts on aircraft recovery. While these recommendations are neither groundbreaking nor terribly exciting, they are necessary to begin the evaluation and improvement process.

Strategic airlift is absolutely key to the timely movement and sustainment of US and allied military forces and therefore, key to the nation's security. The members of XOCL perform a tremendous service in helping to keep C-5s and C-17s flying and delivering cargo around the world; however, the current MRT process, as effective as it is, can likely be improved upon with increased attention and analysis. By implementing the actions recommended in this article, AMC can take steps to build upon its past and present successes to ensure an even more effective process for minimizing strategic airlift downtime due to maintenance. In doing so, it will not only help the command move cargo, it will also improve the overall effectiveness of our Air Force, our Department of Defense, and our nation as a whole.

I said to myself I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me--shapes and ideas so near to me--so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down. I decided to start anew a·new  
1. Once more; again.

2. In a new and different way, form, or manner.

[Middle English : a, of (from Old English of; see of) + new
, to strip away what I had been taught.

--Georgia O'Keeffe

Planning is everything--plans are nothing.

--Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke Helmuth von Moltke can refer to these people:
  • Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke (the elder) (1800–1891)
  • Colonel General Helmuth von Moltke (the younger) (1848–1916)
  • Helmuth James Graf von Moltke (1907–1945)

If I had to sum up in a word what makes a good manager, I'd say decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers to gather the numbers, but in the end you have to set a timetable and act.

--Lido Anthony (Lee) Iacocca

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

--Milton Berle

Article Highlights

Strategic airlift, now and for the foreseeable future, provides critical capabilities vital to our national interests, It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Air Force, and specifically Air Mobility Command, to work toward minimizing the amount of time our C-5s and C-17s remain broken within the airlift system.

While the current maintenance recovery team (MRT) process ensures airlifters broken away from home station are eventually repaired and put back into service (and arguably does so effectively), there is little evidence that much is done outside the normal manpower and parts placement systems to systematically analyze and improve the overall MRT process. In order to more effectively minimize strategic airlifter downtime, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) must implement analytical procedures specific to the MRT process itself, beginning with the sizing, sourcing, and tasking subprocesses. The current mechanism for reviewing and assessing historical data, the Global Decision Support System 2 (GDSS 2) database, as configured and utilized, is largely ineffective at meeting the analytical need.

In order to improve the MRT process, logistics personnel must first have access to sufficient and specific data enabling them to target areas for improvement. Currently, the only way to focus any analytical effort is to perform a painstaking, time-consuming review of each individual aircraft recovery record, a method so inefficient as to be essentially worthless. AMC must implement three actions if it is to begin gathering the data to improve the aircraft recovery process. First, it must correct data input and access issues with currently existing data fields in GDSS 2. Second, in order to effectively target process improvement efforts, the Logistics Control Section, Tanker Airlift Control Center (XOCL) should work with system programmers to add specific data fields within GDSS 2 to account for the varied MRT subprocesses. Third, XOCL should develop and track basic time standards for the overall MRT process and its individual subprocesses. This will allow researchers to focus on those events having adverse impacts on aircraft recovery. While these recommendations are neither groundbreaking nor terribly exciting, they are necessary to begin the evaluation and improvement process.

Article Acronyms

AB--Air Base

AFB--Air Force Base

AMC--Air Mobility Command

APOD--Aerial Port of Debarkation The geographic point at which cargo or personnel are discharged. This may be a seaport or aerial port of debarkation; for unit requirements; it may or may not coincide with the destination. Also called POD. See also port of embarkation.  

CONUS--Continental United States

DoD--Department of Defense

FCC--Flying Crew Chief

FOB--Forward Operating Base

GDSS 2--Global Decision Support System 2

LOC ICAO--Location International Civil Aviation Organization (data field)

LRC--Logistics Readiness Center

LSC--Logistics Support Center

MAF--Mobility Air Forces

MILAIR--Military Aircraft

MOC--Maintenance Operations Center

MRT--Maintenance Recovery Team

OCONUS--Outside Continental United States

TACC--Tanker Airlift Control Center

US--United States

USTRANSCOM--United States Transportation Command

XOCL--Logistics Control Section, Tanker Airlift Control Center


(1.) Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, Washington, DC: Department of Defense, February 2006, v.

(2.) "Overhaul of Army Puts a Premium on Speed 'Transformation' Goal: Get Troops Ready for Modern Warfare Modern warfare involves the widespread use of highly advanced technology. As a term, it is normally taken as referring to conflicts involving one or more first world powers, within the modern electronic era. ," USA TODAY, 16 January 2001, 2A.

(3.) United States Transportation Command, "About USTRANSCOM: Mission," [Online] Available: organization.cfm, accessed August 2007.

(4.) Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD AFDD Air Force Doctrine Document
AFDD Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (Association of Relatives of the Disappeared)
AFDD Association Française des Docteurs en Droit
AFDD Aero-Flight Dynamics Directorate
) 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 17 November 2003, 80.

(5.) Torchbearer torch·bear·er  
1. One that carries a torch.

2. One, such as the leader of a government, who imparts knowledge, truth, or inspiration to others.

Noun 1.
 Alert, "Time to Invest in Strategic Mobility," March 2007, [Online] Available: (accessed August 2007).

(6.), "Military Sealift Command A major command of the US Navy, and the US Transportation Command's component command responsible for designated common-user sealift transportation services to deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy US forces on a global basis. Also called MSC. See also transportation component command. ," [Online] Available:, accessed August 2007.

(7.) Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-6, Air Mobility Operations, 1 March 2006, 1.

(8.) AFDD 2-6.1, Airlift Operations, 13 November 1999, 13.

(9.) AFDD 2-6.1, 12-13.

(10.) Congressional Budget Office The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is responsible for economic forecasting and fiscal policy analysis, scorekeeeping, cost projections, and an Annual Report on the Federal Budget. The office also underdakes special budget-related studies at the request of Congress. , Moving US Forces: Options for Strategic Mobility, Chapter 2, Strategic Airlift Forces, Section 4, February 1997[Online] Available: hnp:// &type=0&sequence=3, accessed August 2007.

(11.) Author's discussion with Lt Col Lt Col or LtCol
lieutenant colonel
 Paul Greenhouse, United States Army United States Army

Major branch of the U.S. military forces, charged with preserving peace and security and defending the nation. The first regular U.S. fighting force, the Continental Army, was organized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, to supplement local
, 9 November 2007.

(12.) AFDD 2-6.1, 15-16.

(13.) AFDD 2-6.1, 17.

(14.) AFDD 2-6, Air Mobility Operations, 25 June 1999, 57.

(15.) Air Mobility Command Instruction (AMCI) 10-403, Air Mobility Command Force Deployment, 22 February 2007, 9.

(16.) Technical Sergeant technical sergeant
1. Abbr. TSgt A noncommissioned rank in the U.S. Air Force that is above staff sergeant and below master sergeant.

2. One who holds this rank.

Noun 1.
 Tammy Cournoyer, "One Whale of a Load," Air Force Print News, [Online] Available: 1298/whale.htm, accessed August 2007.

(17.) Air Force Link, Fact Sheets, "KC-10 Extender See Media Center Extender, bus extender and DOS extender. ," [Online] Available:, accessed August 2007.

(18.) Air Force Link, Fact Sheets, "KC-135 STRATOTANKER," [Online] Available:, accessed August 2007.

(19.) Air Force Link, Fact Sheets, "618TH TANKER AIRLFT CONTROL CENTER," [Online] Available: factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=239, accessed August 2007.

(20.) AMCI 21-108, Logistics Support Operations, 30 August 2007, 4.

(21.) AMCI 21-108, 13.

(22.) AMCI 21-108 4.

(23.) AMCI 21-108, 5.

(24.) Ibid.

(25.) Ibid.

(26.) HQ AMC/A67C GDSS 2 Program Management Office, "GDSS 2 Implementation and Training Process," reviewed August 2007.

(27.) Author's interview with Master Sergeant Jody Nelson, Tanker Airlift Control Center Logistics Control, 18 November 2007.

(28.) Author's interview with Major Kenneth, Norgard Tanker Airlift Control Center Logistics Logistics Control, August 2007.

(29.) GDSS 2, Reports Information Database Library, Logistics Support Tool, "HISTORICAL TASKINGS 01-Jul-2007 through 31-Jul-2007," 17 November 2007, 1-14.

(30.) "Index of ICAO Codes," [Online] Available:, accessed 18 November 2007.

William Y. Rupp, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Lieutenant Colonel William Y. Rupp is a career aircraft maintenance officer with 18 years of experience supporting Air Mobility Command's strategic airlift aircraft, to include the C-141B Starlifter (now retired), the C-5A/B/C Galaxy, and the C-17 Globemaster III. He has led aircraft maintenance at the squadron level and at the AMC en route at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Rupp is currently assigned as a student at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base Coordinates:

“Maxwell Field” redirects here. For other uses, see Maxwell Field (disambiguation).

Maxwell Air Force Base (IATA: MXF, ICAO: KMXF, FAA LID: MXF), officially known as
 in Alabama.
Table 1. GDSS Report Headings and Definitions

Heading             Description

C-5 Tail Number     Aircraft tail number

GDSS Location       Where the aircraft broke
                    according to GDSS 2

Actual Location     Where the aircraft actually
                    broke according to the
                    verbiage in the remarks
                    section of each aircraft's
                    historical record

Pacing Correct      Whether or not the GDSS 2
                    pacing data field contained
                    correct data

Sourcing Tasked     Amount of time from when
                    XOCL was notified of a
                    discrepancy until XOCL
                    tasked sourcing of recovery
                    Note: All time is in minutes

Percent             Percentage of sourcing tasked
                    time to overall downtime (Total
                    time GDSS

Sourcing Complete   Amount of time from when
                    XOCL tasked sourcing until
                    sourcing was complete

Percent             Percentage of sourcing time to
                    overall downtime (Total time

Trans Tasked        Amount of time from when
                    sourcing was complete until
                    XOCL tasked or identified
                    transportation for the MRT

Percent             Percentage of Trans tasked
                    time to overall downtime (Total
                    time GDSS

Trans Arrived       Amount of time from when
                    XOCL tasked/identified
                    transportation until the MRT
                    assets arrived at the actual

Percent             Percentage of Trans arrived
                    time to overall downtime (Total
                    time GDSS

Mx Complete         Amount of time from when
                    MRT assets arrived at the
                    actual location until
                    maintenance notified XOCL
                    the aircraft was fixed

Percent             Percentage of Mx complete
                    time to overall downtime (Total
                    time GDSS
                    Amount of time from when
                    XOCL was notified of the first
                    maintenance discrepancy until
Total Time          maintenance notified XOCL
                    the aircraft was fixed (reflects
                    actual downtime according to
                    each Master Record remarks

Total Time (GDSS)   Amount of time from BREAK
                    DTG to FIX DTG according to
                    GDSS II LOGISTICS
                    SUPPORT TOOL
                    HISTORICAL TASKINGS data
                    run for Jul 07 (erroneously
                    reflects downtime)

Table 2. Requirements Breakdown for 34 Actual C-5
Supports for July 2007

Requirement        GAMSS     Non-GAMSS   Overall

Actual Supports   18 (53%)   16 (47%)    34
Parts             16 (89%)   14 (88%)    30 (91%)
Manpower           5 (28%)    9 (56%)    14 (47%)
Equipment          3 (17%)    3 (19%)     6 (20%)

Table 3. Recommended Additional GDSS 2 Data Fields

Data Field                  Rationale

Sourcing Tasked   Identifies time XOCL tasked
                  unit to source MRT assets;
                  targets XOCL process

Sourcing          Identifies time XOCL
Completed         received asset sourcing
                  from unit; targets unit
                  process time

                  Identifies time sourced unit
MRT Assets        has assets ready to
Mobilized         transport; targets unit

Transportation    Identifies when XOCL
Tasked            identified actual support
                  ride; targets XOCL process

MRT on Hand       Identifies when MRT assets
                  are available or delivered to
                  maintenance; targets unit

Figure 2. GDSS C-5 MRT Records for July 2007 (Part 1)

C-5 Tail     GDSS      Actual     Pacing    Sourcing     %
 Number    Location   Location   Correct?    Tasked

 60021       KCEF       KDOV       N/A
 60014       KCEF       LERT        N           7       0.5%
 70032       KSUU       KDOV       N/A
 00466       KSKF       KDOV       N/A
 00448       KSKF       LERT       N/A
 90008       KSWF       ETAR       N/A
 60014       KCEF       LERT        N          236
                                               263      2.8%
 70042       KSUU       RODN        N           6       0.4%
 60020       KDOV       N/A        N/A
 90012       KSWF       KDOV       N/A
 50001       LERT       OKBK        N           82
                                                85      1.4%
 00466       KSKF       LERT        N          327     12.7%
 60022       ETAR       LERT       N/A
 60023       KCEF       PGUA        N          140      5.3%
 70043       KDOV       UNK         N          134     10.2%
 60017       KCHS       KCHS        N           12      0.4%
 60022       ETAR       LERT       N/A
 80225       KCEF       LERT       N/A
 70028       ETAR       KDOV       N/A
 60022       ETAR       LINK        N           11
                                               122      2.2%
 60012       LERT       PHIK        N          100
                                               119      1.4%
 90023       KSWF       LTAC        N           0       0.0%
 80025       KCEF       LERT       N/A

C-5 Tail   Sourcing     %     Trans      %      Trans      %
 Number    Complete           Tasked           Arrived

 60014        13      0.8%      71      4.6%    1,283    83 .1%
 60014        84                0               2,458
              67               136              2,132
              30                0               2,144
             181      1.9%     136      1.5%    6,734    72.1%
 70042        35      2.3%      0       0.0%    1,417    94.4%
 50001        34                21                917
              0                 22              1,340
              20                26              3,495
              54      0.9%      69      1.1%    5,752    92.8%
 00466        3       0.1%     240      9.3%      765    29.8%
 60023       518      19.5%     61      2.3%    1,524    57.3%
 70043        0       0.0%     140     10.7%      966    73.8%
 60017        17      0.6%      64      2.3%    2,268    82.7%
 60022        58               436              1,349
              67                0                   0
             101               315              1,797
             226      4.1%     751     13.8%    3,146    57.8%
 60012        47                0               1,538
              21                0                   0
             361                0               3,331
             429      5.0%      0       0.0%    4,869    56.4%
 90023        31      0.5%      0       0.0%    5,474    92.8%

C-5 Tail   Mx Complete      %    Total       Total Time
 Number                          Time          (GDSS)

 60014          170      11.0%   1,544 (a)    1,542 (a)
 60014          733
              3,919      42.0%   9,339 (b)   16,890 (b)
 70042           43      29.0%   1,501 (a)    1,500 (a)
 50001          114
                487       7.9%   6,199 (b)    8,430 (b)
 00466        1,239      48.2%   2,571 (a)    2,550 (a)
 60023          417      15.7%   3,660 (b)    9,786 (b)
 70043           69       5.3%   1,309 (b)    2,664 (b)
 60017          380      13.9%   2,741 (a)    2,718 (a)
 60022        1,019

              1,371      25.2%   5,446 (b)    7,764 (b)
 60012        4,013

              8,144      94.4%   8,627 (a)    8,592 (a)
 90023           64       1.1%   5,901 (a)    5,904 (a)

Figure 2. GDSS C-5 MRT Records for July 2007 (Part 2)

C-5 Tail     GDSS      Actual     Pacing    Sourcing     %
 Number    Location   Location   Correct?    Tasked

 60018       KCEF       LERT       N/A
 60017       KCHS       KDOV       N/A
 50005       KDOV       KSUU       N/A
 50005       KDOV       KSUU       N/A
 50008       KSUU       UNK         N            7
                                               469     19.5%
 80219       KFFO       KDOV       N/A
 60019       KSUU       RJTY       N/A
 90023       KSWF       ETAR       N/A
 70029       KDOV       ORBI        N          315     18.6%
 60019       KSUU       RJTY       N/A
 70032       KSUU       LERT       N/A
 90023       KSWF       ETAR       N/A
 00446       KSKF       ETAR       N/A
 70032       KSUU       LERT       N/A
 80219       KFFO       ETAR       N/A
 60018       KCEF       ORBI        N          429
                                               992     17.9%
 00465       KMEM       PGUA        N           15      0.5%
 60014       KCEF       LERT        N           20      1.5%
 50005       KDOV       PHIK       N/A
 50004       KDOV       LERT       N/A
 60023       KCEF       KCEF       N/A
 70039       KCEF       LERT       N/A
 50004       KDOV       KNKT        N            6      0.4%
 40061       KDOV       LERT        N         1019

C-5 Tail   Sourcing     %     Trans     %     Trans       %
 Number    Complete           Tasked          Arrived

 50008         22               37             1,039
                0                0                 ?
               22      0.9%     37     1.5%    1,039    43.1%
 70029         93      5.5%      2     0.1%      677    40.0%
 60018         44              223               448
              548                0                 0
               56               90               611
                0                0             1,517
               52                0             1,757
              113                0                 0
              813     14.7%    313     5.7%    4,333    78.4%
 00465        105      3.5%      0     0.0%    2,515    84.9%
 60014         28      2.0%     27     2.0%      910    66.6%
 50004         56      4.0%      0     0.0%      593    42.2%
 40061         14              227             1,956
               52                0                 0
               45                0                 0
               92                0                 0
                9                0                 0
               22               40             2,699

C-5 Tail   Mx Complete     %       Total      Total Time
 Number                            Time         (GDSS)

 50008            45
                  45       1.9%   2,409 (a)   2,394 (a)
 70029           614      36.3%   1,691 (a)   1,674 (b)
 60018         4,373
              10,073     182.3%   5,527 (b)   5,412 (b)
 00465           267       9.0%   2,962 (a)   2,928 (a)
 60014           382      27.9%   1,367 (a)   1,338 (a)
 50004           750      53.4%   1,405 (a)   1,374 (a)
 40061           324

Figure 2. GDSS C-5 MRT Records for July 2007 (Part 3)

C-5 Tail     GDSS      Actual     Pacing    Sourcing     %
 Number    Location   Location   Correct?    Tasked

50001        LERT       LERT       N/A
60018        KCEF       LERT       N/A
70043        KDOV       LERT       N/A
60015        EGUN       KTIK        N           13      0.5%
70042        KSUU       LERT       N/A
50002        KDOV       LERT       N/A
80223        KSKF       PHIK       N/A
50008        KSUU       LERT       N/A
70031        KCEF       LERT       N/A
00465        KMEM       PHIK       N/A
60021        KCEF       LERT       N/A
50001        LERT       LERT        N          156      4.3%
70042        KSUU       LEMO        N           45      4.0%
00465        KMEM       KSUU       N/A
50008        KSUU       LERT       N/A
60014        KCEF       LERT       N/A
00460        KSWF       ETAR       N/A
70027        ORBI       KDOV       N/A
60019        KSUU       LERT        N          526
                                               526     14.4%
70027        ORBI       KDOV       N/A
70031        KCEF       LERT        N          911
                                               911     17.4%
50008        KSUU       LERT       N/A
90012        KSWF       OKBK        N           80
                                                80      2.9%
50002        KDOV       LERT       N/A
70032        KSUU       OKBK        N           56

                                               356      5.5%
00460        KSWF       ETAR       N/A
90005        KFFO       ETAR       N/A
00467        KMEM       KXMR        N          275     22.9%

C-5 Tail   Sourcing    %     Trans     %     Trans       %
 Number    Complete          Tasked          Arrived

              290     4.5%    267     4.2%    5,248    81.7%
70043                                                  1263
60015         106     3.8%     47     1.7%    2,618    92.8%
50001           0     0.0%    226     6.3%    2,858    79.5%
70042          49     4.3%      0     0.0%      138    12.2%
60019          33               0               553
               18              28             1,219
               51     1.4%     28     0.8%    1,772    48.5%
70031          55              14             1,018
                0              11               837
               55     1.0%     25     0.5%    1,855    35.4%
90012           0             162
              143               0             1,522
              143     5.1%    162     5.8%    1,522    54.6%
70032           0            mrt already moving
                             to support another acft
              209              62     1.0%    5,701    87.9%
              209     3.2%     62     1.0%    5,701    87.9%
00467           1     0.1%      0     0.0%      631    52.5%

C-5 Tail   Mx Complete     %      Total      Total Time
 Number                            Time       (GDSS)

              1,363      21.2%   6,420 (a)   6,402 (a)
60015            36       1.3%   2,820 (a)   2,814 (a)
50001           357       9.9%   3,597 (a)   3,588 (a)
70042           899      79.5%   1,131 (a)   1,116 (a)
60019             ?
                135       3.7%   3,657 (a)   3,654 (a)
                694      13.2%   5,240 (a)   5,220 (a)
              1,025      36.8%   2,789 (b)   2,436 (b)

                212       3.3%
                212       3.3%   6,484 (a)   6,486 (a)
00467           235      19.6%   1,201 (b)   7,740 (b)

Figure 2. GDSS C-5 MRT Records for July 2007 (Part 4)

C-5 Tail     GDSS      Actual     Pacing    Sourcing     %
 Number    Location   Location   Correct?    Tasked

 00460       KSWF       ETAR        N           22      0.6%
 00455       KSWF       ETAR       N/A
 00467       KMEM       UNK         N            9
                                                69      2.5%
 90025       KNQA       RODN        N           64      3.3%
 60011       KDOV       LERT        N           23      0.5%
 90018       KWRB       PGUA        N            5      0.3%
 70037       KCEF       LERT        N           99      3.0%
 60019       KSUU       LERT       N/A
 90012       KSWF       LERT       N/A
 70028       ETAR       LEMO        N            4      0.4%
 60022       ETAR       LERT        N          117     11.9%
 00467       KMEM       KNUQ       N/A
 70045       KDOV       KPOB       N/A

C-5 Tail   Sourcing     %     Trans     %      Trans      %
 Number    Complete           Tasked          Arrived

 00460         18      0.5%     46     1.3%      714    19.9%
 00467         41               19             1,497
                0                0               920
               41      1.5%     19     0.7%    2,417    86.9%
 90025        127      6.5%      0     0.0%    1,563    80.6%
 60011        974     20.2%     14     0.3%    2,075    43.1%
 90018         37      2.6%     13     0.9%      891    62.2%
 70037        106      3.2%      0     0.0%    2,334    71.4%
 70028        352     38.6%      0     0.0%      692    75.8%
 60022         35      3.6%     70     7.1%      639    65.1%

C-5 Tail   Mx Complete     %     Total       Total Time
 Number                          Time          (GDSS)

 00460          191       5.3%   3,590 (a)    3,570 (a)
                217       7.8%   2,782 (b)    6,510 (b)
 90025          223      11.5%   1,939 (a)     1932 (a)
 60011        1,728      35.9%   4,814 (a)    4,818 (a)
 90018          486      33.9%   1,432 (b)   78,996 (b)
 70037          835      25.6%   3,268 (b)      900 (b)
 70028          224      24.5%     913 (a)      846 (a)
 60022          121      12.3%     982 (a)      954 (a)

Shaded areas represent aircraft tracked in GDSS II, but ultimately
resolved as non-supports.

(a) = less than 60 minutes difference between GDSS II and this analysis

(b) = greater than 60 minutes difference between GDSS II and this
COPYRIGHT 2008 U.S. Air Force, Logistics Management Agency
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Special Feature
Author:Rupp, William Y.
Publication:Air Force Journal of Logistics
Date:Sep 22, 2008
Previous Article:Logistics challenges: air mobility command: improving aircraft maintenance team recovery processes future air bases: power patches or military...
Next Article:Future Air Bases: power patches or military communities? A revolutionary approach is needed by the Air Force to reengineer not only its business...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters