Art of the Possible

The new approach the Air Force has adopted for aircraft maintenance is providing welcomed improvements, but still requires optimization, said Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander, on Monday. “I’m not telling you we’re anywhere close to where we want to be … but what we’ve brought online … is a system that works,” he said at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. What AFSC is doing is “taking a non-linear problem and making it linear,” identifying and anticipating issues that would stall maintenance work—and eliminating those issues, said Litchfield. But across the Air Force, there are still some challenges, he said. “We’re really good at replacing old with ‘new-old,’” he said, explaining that the Air Force is good at patching problems, if something breaks down. “What we’re not so good at doing is replacing old with new capabilities,” he said. Other issues persist as the Air Force embraces innovation in its sustainment activities and streamlines, he said. However, the move towards the “art of the possible” in sustainment is already saving money and speeding up processes, said Litchfield.