Follow up on B-2 crash

by reader ilsm

More on the B-2 crash.

In July 2006 the B-2 program office put itself in the an award for applying Performance Based Logistics (PBL). Seems in Fall 2006 they planned to hire Northrop to perform the B-2 PBL. On page 5 of the award justification the program office touts innovations in support including management of technical orders: “For the first time, the B-2 will have quantitative performance metrics for six major sustainment efforts: programmed depot maintenance, software maintenance, contractor supply chain management, sustaining engineering, technical order management and contractor parts repair management.”

I wonder if the PBL includes penalties for crashing an aircraft because the “quantitatively measured” technical orders were not so hot?

PBL is an often misunderstood concept which arose in the late 1990’s as defense managers discovered their new systems were neither very reliable nor very easy to repair because they had spent huge sums and had not bought good technical data nor developed decent repair processes. So, a Defense Systems Affordability Council (DSAC) began to look at weapon systems where the government hired the contractor to do total support often in cases where neither reliability nor maintenance processes were successfully delivered. The idea was, and there is no evidence to support it, that if the government could not afford or the developer failed to make detailed, effective maintenance processes the same contractor would do it as part of a services contract.

GAO looked at the concept twice and then stopped because they were coming up with attacks on the brilliant idea to send huge amounts of money to the contractors to redo work they failed at in the first attempts.

GAO on Performance Based Logistics are here: GAO-04-715 and GAO 05-966

Both GAO reports are highly critical of PBL, stated PBL does not deliver and costs too much, which is consequently about not delivering the services or results.

We go from B-2 writing awards for PBL of its Technical Orders to the Air Force accident board excusing shoddy technical order management by the PBL contractor as ‘human error’.
This one by ilsm