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Changing the face of unit deployment manager responsibilities.


A unit's ability to deploy rapidly and effectively underpins air and space expeditionary force (AEF) capabilities. Former Air Force Chief of Staff, General John P. Jumper, put it succinctly, "... everyone in the Air Force must understand that the day-today operation of the Air Force is absolutely set to the rhythm of the deploying AEF force packages ... the natural state of our Air Force when we are doing business is not home station operations but deployed operations." (1)

In the Air Force, unit deployment managers (UDMs) shoulder the deployment workload at the unit level. Air Force Instruction 10-403, Deployment Planning and Execution, paragraph, requires unit commanders to appoint a primary and alternate UDM. UDMs are responsible for educating the unit on its expeditionary role and ensuring personnel and equipment are ready to deploy. They lead efforts to construct and maintain unit type codes (UTCs), monitor the readiness of each unit member, act as the commander's point of contact, and interface with the installation deployment officer (IDO).

The Air and Space Expeditionary Force Presence Policy, signed in 2004 by then Secretary of the Air Force, James G. Roche, defines the structure and role of the air and space expeditionary force within the environment of joint warfare. The demands of this policy and the Global War on Terror have significantly altered squadron deployment management requirements, thus expanding the role and increasing the value of the UDM. This new environment challenges senior Air Force leadership to find a better way to meet the squadron's deployment management needs. The Air Force Logistics Management Agency (AFLMA) was tasked to assess this new environment and analyze possible alternatives to the current way of doing business.

The AFLMA study team constructed a hierarchy representing what the decision maker values when assessing alternatives. This methodology closely resembles value-focused thinking (VFT), an approach to decision making made popular by Dr Ralph L. Keeney. In theory, unlimited access to the sole decision maker or decision-making body is essential. However, developing the hierarchy for this study using a single decision maker or decision-making body was not possible for two reasons. First, a single decision-making body does not exist. Implementing recommendations resulting from this study would entail approval at many levels. Second, all the players involved in the decision do not have the time to devote the proper attention necessary to fully develop a hierarchy. Therefore, this analysis relies on the study team's expertise and non-partiality acting on the behalf of the decision-making body. The study team used insight from survey responses and subject matter experts (SMEs) as well as inputs from key personnel in the decision-making body. As Dr Keeney states, "It is useful, and sometimes necessary, to quantify values from interested and knowledgeable parties about a given decision context. Such a quantification, including the specification of objectives on which it is based may be of considerable help to any of the parties eventually involved in the decision process." (2)

The study team considered four alternatives generated through brainstorming sessions, which were subsequently approved by members of our decision-making body.

* Retaining UDM responsibilities as an additional duty assigned to an individual within the unit or the as-is alternative

* Creating a new Air Force specialty code (AFSC) to handle UDM responsibilities

* Assigning these duties to the logistics plans career field; and

* Creating a special duty assignment

Team members formulated a set of values to assess these alternatives. In other words, what does the Air Force value if it could optimally assign UDM responsibilities. The study team agreed upon three main areas of focus that can be summarized as follows.

* The right person for the job (competence)

* The least negative impact to the Air Force (career field/ manning), and

* The fight job for the person (career enhancement).

These areas were used as a starting point to develop the value hierarchy. The study team met on multiple occasions to construct the remaining pieces in the hierarchy (see Figure 1).


The percentages in each block represent weights placed on each value. The weights in the hierarchy are considered local weights because their values sum to one across each tier of the hierarchy. After developing the hierarchy, these values and their corresponding weights were reviewed and approved by the project sponsor.

With values established, the team began to develop evaluation measures. Evaluation measures provide a way to differentiate among the alternatives. Using a popular decision analysis example, if performance is a value when making an automobile purchase, an effective evaluation measure is horsepower. Every lower-level value must have at least one evaluation measure. Table 1 represents the hierarchy's values and corresponding evaluation measures.

To complete the hierarchy, the team created value functions for each evaluation measure. Value functions assist in scoring an alternative by assigning a number value (between 0 and 1) based on deliberate judging criteria. How functions were developed for the first two evaluation measures are listed in Table 1--standardization of training and areas of experience.

The competence value is broken down into three tier 2 values--training, experience, and continuity. The training value represents the importance of a well-trained UDM. Measuring how well a UDM is trained could involve surveying UDMs post training but this could only be accomplished for the as-is alternative. Therefore, the study team had to be more creative in developing an evaluation measure for training. After discussing training with prior UDMs, it was evident that the quality within UDM training varied widely and was highly dependent on the IDO and the readiness flight. In theory, if IDOs and readiness flights across the Air Force were required by regulation to meet a set of high standards for training UDMs, the overall quality of UDM training would vastly improve.

Assessing standardization of training would allow us to evaluate the alternatives based on their defined attributes. The level of standardization became a proxy scale for the training evaluation measure. A value function's scale is classified as either direct or proxy, and natural or constructed. A natural scale is one that has a common interpretation by the vast majority of people. (3) An example would be miles per gallon when comparing cars. The study team had to construct the scale for this value function. There are three possible outcomes in regard to the standardization level: Air Force, base or wing, and unit. A training program standardized at Air Force level receives the full value. A training program standardized at base or wing level receives 50 percent of the value, and a training program standardized at the unit level receives 0 percent of the value (see Figure 2).


The way the experience value function was constructed is somewhat innovative and possibly controversial among traditional VFT proponents. The study team created this value function by compiling eight core areas describing UDM experience using inputs from SMEs. Commanders and chief enlisted managers (CEMs) were asked through a survey to rank each area of experience based on importance to the UDM job. Their inputs are significant because of their direct knowledge of how prior experience can affect competence in the UDM position. The eight core knowledge areas are as follows.

* Deployments (general)

* Deployment process (for example, cargo deployment function [CDF], personnel deployment function [PDF], pallet buildup, joint inspection [JI])

* Deployment systems (for example, the logistics module [LOGMOG])

* Readiness reporting systems (for example, the Status of Resources and Training System [SORTS] and AEF Reporting Tool [ART])

* Unit equipment

* Unit mission

* Unit taskings

* UTC management

An average ranking was computed for each core area based on the surveys (see Figure 3).


It is imperative to recognize that Figure 3 depicts average rankings; therefore, a smaller overall ranking implies a greater importance. Using these average rankings as a baseline, a value was assigned to each core knowledge area such that the total value summed to 1.00. For instance, knowledge of the deployment process had the best (lowest) overall ranking and therefore received the greatest value, 0.20. Table 2 is a compilation of all the values assigned.

When scoring alternatives through this value function, credit was given to alternatives where individuals are more likely to arrive in the job with these UDM areas of experience than their counterparts from other alternatives. For example, an alternative where individuals already have general deployment knowledge as well as a familiarity with the equipment, mission, and taskings of the unit would score a 0.35 for the experience value (as in the as-is alternative where individuals are assigned from within the unit).

After all alternatives are appropriately scored through the value functions, the value's score is multiplied by the weight assigned to that value. Using the previous car example, if the decision maker weighted performance 0.25 and the value function was set such that an alternative earned a 0.5 for horsepower, then the alternative's score for performance would be 0.125. Summing every value's score for an alternative will produce an overall weighted score between 0 and 1 for that alternative. The weighted scores differentiate the alternatives and assist the decision maker in choosing from among the alternatives.

The study team carefully defined the attributes associated with each alternative. In this way, the study team was able to objectively score each alternative through the hierarchy based on predefined attributes and the information gathered through literature review, personal interviews with SMEs, and survey responses. Surveys were conducted to gain an understanding of the current UDM environment. The surveys were distributed to commanders, CEMs, and UDMs stationed at 1,514 units Air Force-wide. The surveys assisted the study team in scoring the as-is alternative and helped identify many concerns existing out in the field. Figure 4 depicts the final scores based on the analysis.


Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity analysis highlights how changes in certain model assumptions impact the ranking of alternatives. The sensitivity analysis in this section focuses on the weights within the hierarchy. It answers the question, what if the decision maker isn't certain about the weights? The focus in this example is on local sensitivity analysis because the hierarchy was weighted locally. This means the decision-making body first weighed the hierarchy between the values in the first tier, and then focused on weights between the values within each branch of the second tier. The career field or manning value is used to illustrate the power of sensitivity analysis. Sensitivity analysis allows the weighting on career field or manning to vary in order to determine what effect this would have on the outcome. The weight on career field or manning will vary between 0 and 100 percent and the remaining weight will be distributed proportionally between the two remaining values within the first tier (competence and career enhancement). A plot representing the alternatives is shown in Figure 5.


The vertical line represents the original weight placed on career field or manning. With career field or manning's weight set at its original value of 15 percent, the new AFSC alternative receives the greatest value at 0.812. The new AFSC alternative receives the highest score with the weighting on career field or manning varying between 0 and 34 percent. When the career field or manning value is weighted at 35 percent and on up to 100 percent, the "as-is" alternative becomes the most attractive option. This sensitivity analysis illustrates the model is relatively insensitive to reasonable variations in the weighting place on career field or manning, allowing the decision-making body to have more confidence in the outcome.


This analysis provides valuable insight to the decision maker or decision-making body. The results tell the decision-making body that, based on the inputs to this model, creating a new AFSC will provide the greatest value to the Air Force. It focuses on the value inherent in the attributes of each alternative. It does not account for possible limiting constraints. For example, creating a new AFSC requires new manpower authorizations or converting existing authorizations. The requirement to fill these authorizations may make this alternative infeasible. This particular constraint caused the study team to recommend an entirely different alternative. Modifying the as-is alternative to incorporate some mandates that address problem areas discovered through this study would make the as-is much more attractive. Developing an Air Force-wide UDM training program and increasing assignment length from 18 months to 24 months, raises the as-is alternative score from 0.599 to 0.743. These changes make the modified as-is alternative the second highest scoring alternative, as shown is Figure 6.


This type of decision-making model is an excellent tool that provides valuable insight into complex decisions. It allows the decision maker or decision-making body to reduce the decision into manageable parts and consider each part in an objective forum as demonstrated in this study on the assignment of UDM responsibilities.

The sponsor of this study will use the recommendations to improve future readiness management practices. Air Staff requested a manpower study from the Air Force Manpower Agency (AFMA) that will consider giving squadrons credit for UDM work being performed. AFMA will use this UDM report as their starting point.


AEF--Air and Space Expeditionary Force

AFLMA--Air Force Logistics Management Agency

AFSC--Air Force Specialty Code

ART--AEF Reporting Tool

CDF--Cargo Deployment Function

CEM--Chief Enlisted Manager

IDO--Installation Deployment Officer

JI--Joint Inspection

LOGMOD--Logistics Module

PDF--Personnel Deployment Function

SME--Subject Matter Expert

SORTS--Status of Resources and Training System

UDM--Unit Deployment Manager

UTC--Unit Type Code

VFT--Value-Focused Training

Captain Robert E. Overstreet, USAF

Captain Tamiko Ritschel, USAF

Military Logistics and the Warfighter

I think we can all agree there is a relationship between the function of military logistics and the warfighter. What is that relationship, and is it correctly defined? In the early 1960s, there was a stated relationship between logistics and the weapons systems: military logistics support the weapons system. At that time, the subject of military logistics was fairly new and, with little ongoing research, very slow in providing greater understanding about it. Therefore, during that period, this definition of relationship seemed appropriate. It was not until the late 1970s that several advocates of military logistics came to the realization that logistics support of the weapon system was actually creating and sustaining warfighting capability. This warfighting capability was provided to the combat forces in the form of continuing availability of operational weapon systems (the tools of war). This new awareness set up another definition of the relationship: military logistics creates and sustains warfighting capability. While many heard the words, few realized their implications.

The level of warfighting capability that logistics provides the combat forces determines the extent to which war can be waged. This, in turn, limits and shapes how the war will be waged. Warfighting capability is embedded in the design of all weapon systems. Advancing technology increases speed, range, maneuverability, ceiling, and firepower, all of which provide more lethal and accurately guided munitions, stealth, and other offensive and defensive warfighting capabilities. They will be embedded into the design of future weapon systems. It is the weapon systems that contain the warfighting capability of military forces. The strength of military forces is no longer measured by the number of men under arms. Today, military forces are measured by the number--and warfighting capabilities--of their weapon systems. The Department of Defense has yet to adequately define and manage the total logistics environment (those activities and resources required to create and sustain warfighting capability). While it is said that armies travel on their stomachs, what is usually left unsaid is they perform on the basis of their logistics competency.

Today, as most of you are aware, we have another, more recently defined relationship: military logistics supports the warfighter. We know military logistics creates and sustains warfighting capability. We can assume the warfighter fights wars. It would, therefore, appear reasonable to suggest that in order for one to be a warfighter (a pilot in this case) he or she must have the capability to wage war. While weapon systems are designed and created to wage war, people are not. Therefore, in order to become warfighters, pilots must be provided with some level or amount of warfighting capability. I would submit that by providing the pilot with an operational weapon system, which allows him or her to utilize its warfighting capability, military logistics creates the warfighter. It does not support the warfighter; it creates the warfighter. This transformation occurs when a checked-out pilot starts the engine. At that point, the pilot is in control of the weapon system and its warfighting capability. The pilot is now the warfighter. Without the warfighting capability, which the weapons system provides, a pilot is a pilot.

Military logistics creates and sustains warfighting capability; by doing so, military logistics creates and sustains the warfighter.

Colonel Fred Gluck, USAF, Retired

For Want of a Spanner

A curious minor logistical mystery of Royal Air Force history in World War II was and is the shortage of hand tools. This lasted well into 1943, 4 years after the war began and 9 years after rearmament started in 1934.

Before wartime expansion, fitters and riggers did their initial course at No. 1 Technical Training School at Habton. They specialized either as engine fitters or as airframe riggers. Upon completion of the course they were sent to squadrons where in 7 years their education was completed.

At the squadron they reported to A, B, or C Flight where they were issued a toolkit. If they were transferred from one flight to another, they had to turn in their toolbox and have the contents accounted for before proceeding across the street to draw another set from their new flight. In biplane days, a fitter or a rigger assigned to a two-seater not only acted as the gunner, but in colonial theaters lashed his toolbox to the wing next to the fuselage in case of a forced landing.

What makes the case of the missing hand tools so intriguing is that the historical documentation concerning the ordering of such necessary items has disappeared (meaning it has either been destroyed or it has been filed with the papers of a successor organization of unlikely title).

The first clue to the problem came from the Operational Record Book of a repair and salvage unit in the Middle East in 1940 which opened by noting that of the RSU's 62 personnel, only 25 had tools. So they were happy to pass on salvaged aircraft to whoever claimed them.

What this meant was that in a theater then desperate for serviceable aircraft, many were standing idle because the necessary repairs could not be made for want of a spanner, let alone the necessary spares.

But the matter is important because in 1943 in Burma (South-East Asia Command or SEAC), the Beaufighters of No. 26 Squadron only sortied once every 18 days due to lack of tools and spares.

The fact that the RAF had insisted on standardized nuts, bolts, and other fittings meant that special tools were not needed. Unserviceability was due to the unavailability of regular tools.

Robin Higham, PhD


(1.) John P. Jumper. Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, "The Culture of Our Air and Space Expeditionary Force and the Value of Air Force Doctrine." Chief's Site Picture.

(2.) Ralph L. Keeney, Value Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. 152.

(3.) Craig W. Kirkwood, Strategic Decision Making, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997.

Captain Robert E. Overstreet is the vehicle management flight commander for the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. Captain Tamiko L. Ritschel is the Chief, Operational Analyses Branch, Logistics Analysis Division, Air Force Logistics Management Agency, Maxwell AFB, Gunter Annex, Alabama.
Table 1. Values with Evaluation Measures

Objective Tier 1 Tier 2
 Values Values

How Best Competence Training
to Meet Unit Experience
Deployment Continuity
of the Career Impacts
Squadron Field/Manning Time to Implement

 Career Professional
 Enhancement Development

Objective Evaluation Measures

How Best Standardization of Training
to Meet Unit Areas of Prior Experience
Deployment UDM Assignment Length
of the Implementation Impact
Squadron Time to Implement
 Commander Flexibility

 Professional Development
 Opportunity for Promotion

Table 2. Values Assigned to
Areas of Experience

UDM Areas of Experience Value

1. Deployments (general) 0.05
2. Deployment process
 (for example,
 CDF, PDF, Pallet
 build-up, and JI) 0.20
3. Deployment systems
 for example, LOGMOD 0.15
4. Readiness reporting
 systems for example,
 SORTS and ART) 0.15
5. Unit equipment 0.05
6. Unit mission 0.10
7. Unit taskings 0.15
8. UTC management 0.15
TOTAL 1.00
COPYRIGHT 2005 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 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Overstreet, Robert E.; Ritschel, Tamiko
Publication:Air Force Journal of Logistics
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2005
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