Mission-Based Forecasting for Military Operations

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-2121

Published:
  • 2017-09-19
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Abstract:
The US Department of Defense (DoD) operates the most complex global supply chain in the world. However, effectively integrating production planning, maintenance operations, inventory systems, and distribution policies has been a persisting strategic challenge for the logistics enterprise supporting the DoD. Neither DoD nor the Congressional Budget Office has been able to establish a well-defined linkage between Operations and Maintenance resource funding levels and the resulting readiness of military units. For nearly three decades the Government Accountability Office has attributed these inadequacies to poor demand forecasting, ineffective inventory management, and inadequate strategic planning. To address these persisting problems the US Army established the project to Transform Army Supply Chains (TASC) in order to investigate the nature, causes, and consequences of demand uncertainty and supply variability. The TASC project developed an enterprise framework to facilitate analysis, synthesis, evaluation and design for the sustainment enterprise, then identified and tested several “catalysts for innovation” including Mission-Based Forecasting (MBF). MBF is a new concept for demand planning which relates resource investment levels and distribution policies directly to mission performance outcomes, thereby enabling the “resources-to-readiness” linkage. MBF fully capitalizes on Big Data opportunties: predictive analytics, innovative forecasting methods, condition-based maintenance (CBM) diagnostic and prognostic algorithms, and the Internet of Things. Analytical demonstrations and field tests indicate MBF will dramatically improve forecast accuracy, reduce both backorders and excess inventory, and eliminate costly work-arounds while increasing equipment readiness in military organizations. Furthermore, when integrated with other catalysts for innovation such as multi-echelon readiness-based sparing (MERBS) and readiness responsive retrograde (R3), MBF can also enable an “early warning system” for the sustainment enterprise. Originally developed for Army aviation systems, MBF has since been applied to ground systems and extended to other Military Services.
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