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DoD Guide for Achieving Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability available.

The challenges facing today's program manager have increased dramatically. DoDD 5000.1, The Defense Acquisition System, May 12, 2003, designates the PM as the life cycle manager for Total Life Cycle Systems Management (TLCSM), responsible not only for effective and timely acquisition of the system, but also for sustainment of a system throughout its life cycle. TLCSM has re-emphasized that the PM must consider systems development decisions in the context of the effect they will have on long-term operational effectiveness and suitability.

So what does this have to do with the 2005 DoD Guide for Achieving Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM)? Very simply, a systems reliability and maintainability and its resultant availability influence many of the key factors that encompass a total systems management approach.

The Importance of RAM

Achieving required levels of RAM is important for many reasons.

* Improved readiness: Poor reliability or maintainability causes readiness to fall below needed levels or increases the cost of achieving them.

* Improved safety: The ability to safely complete a mission is directly related to the reliability of the critical safety items.

* Improved mission success: The ability to undertake and successfully complete a mission is directly affected by the extent to which equipment needed to perform a given mission is available and operates reliably.

* Reduced total ownership costs: TOC captures the true cost of design, development, ownership, and support of DoD weapons systems. To the extent that new systems can be designed to be more reliable (fewer failures) and more maintainable (fewer resources needed) TOC for these systems will be lower.

* Reduced logistics footprint: Improved RAM reduces the size of the logistics footprint related to the number of required spares, maintenance personnel, and support equipment.

Achieving RAM Through Disciplined Systems Engineering Process

The key to developing and fielding military systems with satisfactory levels of RAM is to recognize them as integral to technical planning and execution (a.k.a. systems engineering) and to systematically manage the elimination of failures and failure modes through identification, classification, analysis, and removal or mitigation. Chapter 4, "Systems Engineering," of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook describes the systems engineering processes and the fundamentals of their application to DoD acquisition, addressing the many design considerations, including reliability and maintainability, that should be taken into account throughout the systems engineering process.

Additional information on systems engineering and related topics can be found on the Defense Acquisition University (Acquisition Community Connection (ACC) Web site in the Reliability and Maintainability Special Interest Area <https://acc.dau.mil/simplify/ev_en.php>.

How the New DoD Guide Can Help

The new guide reflects RAM best practices throughout the department, industry, and academia. It emphasizes that RAM capabilities are achieved through a collaboration of skilled people and organizations with a clear mission and goal, armed with the right supporting information, adequately resourced, using effective technical tools and systems engineering management activities, and developing the necessary documentation at each product stage, throughout the life cycle.

The Guide is structured around a four-step model:

* Step 1: Before a system can be designed, the needs and constraints of the user must be understood and documented. This first step is the foundation required to define and achieve appropriate levels of RAM performance for a system.

* Step 2: After the user needs and constraints are accounted for, the process shifts to ensuring RAM requirements are designed in the system.

* Step 3: During the production phase the system must be manufactured such that the designed-in RAM performance remains intact.

* Step 4: The final step of the process, which is monitoring field experience, is often overlooked. Field experience can be used to improve maintenance, identify necessary improvements to the system, and provide much-needed lessons learned for future systems.

Each step has five elements that are necessary for success: a clear goal for the step; the right organizations and people; adequate supporting information; available tools, funds, and time to support the appropriate activities for that step; and a good record of the results.

Audience and Structure

The guide was written for two audiences: Chapters 1 and 2 are at a level of detail appropriate for senior managers (milestone decision authority, program executive officers, program managers, requirements officers, testers). RAM practitioners are the intended users of the remainder of the guide. The appendices provide information on some key topic areas related to RAM including how RAM fits into the contracting process, reliability techniques, reliability growth management, and field assessment and system trending.

The 2005 DoD Guide for Achieving Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability, is available on the OUSD (AT & L) Systems Engineering Web site at <http://www.acq.osd.mil/ds/se/ed/publications/RAM%20Guide%20(080305).pdf>. The OSD office of primary responsibility for the guide is OUSD (AT & L) Defense Systems/Systems Engineering/Enterprise Development. To provide feedback on the guide, e-mail atl-ed@osd.mil.

Anderson is the deputy for systems engineering plans and policy, in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. Schaeffer serves in a dual capacity as the acting director, defense systems, and as the director, systems engineering in the Office of the USD (AT & L). Zsak joined Decisive Analytics Corporation following retirement from the Department of Defense after 34 years of service in support of Army, Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, and Navy acquisition efforts.

Col. Warren Anderson, USAF * Mark Schaeffer * Michael Zsak
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Title Annotation:Policy & Legislation
Author:Zsak, Michael
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:897
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