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American Forces Press Service

Official Discusses Enhanced Sustainability, Cost Reduction

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 – The assistant secretary of defense for maintenance and policy today outlined the issues and challenges facing the maintenance community with consideration to current conflicts and steep costs.

Speaking at the Defense Logistics 2012 conference, John B. Johns examined future maintenance, sustainment and cost reduction goals and stressed the importance of prioritization with across-the-board spending cuts looming if a sequestration mechanism in the Budget Control Act takes effect in January.

“If sequestration does happen, there would have to be significant effort on prioritization, and [a] focus on providing the best value to the warfighter given the threat environment as assessed by the department,” Johns said.

Because the Defense Department's materiel maintenance operations support a spectrum of weapon systems that includes about 280 ships, 14,000 aircraft, 800 strategic missiles and 350,000 ground combat and tactical vehicles, the distribution of maintenance workloads between the public and private sectors is instrumental in maintaining a robust and viable industrial base, program officials said.

Johns also noted the maintenance and logistics community’s need to understand and adjust as the U.S. military pivots its focus to the Asia-Pacific region. “The maintenance and logistics community’s priorities need to follow the warfighting priorities,” he said.

As the United States sharpens its focus on innovation in space and cyberspace, maintenance priorities also must encompass emerging technology, Johns said.

“A shift toward [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], any systems that require software and all of our programs, to include sustainment of those systems, need to reflect that shifting priority,” he said.

The conference, which runs through Dec. 5, is bringing government and military officials together with defense contractors, and is sponsored by defense-related industries.

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