Opinion | Shifting perspectives: Reframe readiness with a focus on availability – By Christopher Lowman (Defense News) / Nov 14, 2023
In the complex world of military preparedness and sustainment, metrics are integral to strategic decision-making, resource allocation and fleet health assessments. Traditional readiness measures have always been the bedrock of informing a commander about the readiness level of a unit. But do these metrics adequately serve the needs of the sustainer to assess a fleet’s health?
The sustainment community would benefit more from a proactive focus on established Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System key performance parameters, or KPPs — materiel availability and operational availability (AO) rather than retroactively responding to readiness measures. My hypothesis is that an increased focus on materiel availability, operational availability and other sustainment health measures offers a proactive approach that integrates the expected engineered performance with the realities of the sustainment phase to better understand fleet performance over time. Additionally, it postures the sustainment community to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities as well as improve decision-making.
Today’s readiness metrics assess a unit’s capability to perform its designated missions. It is based on the availability of personnel, the training they have received, the on-hand availability of equipment and/or the serviceability of equipment; and it gravitates toward the diagnosis of resource deficits, culminating in a comprehensive unit readiness report presented as capability ratings. However, as comprehensive as they might be for commanders, they are fundamentally reactive, and designed to highlight problems and needed response rather than predict and prevent them.