Air Force’s top logistician delivers ‘State of Logistics’

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Warren Berry, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, detailed the current state of Air Force Logistics to kick off the Logistics Officer Association Symposium Oct. 9, 2019.

Berry spoke about the logistics community’s progress in recovering readiness and future plans to prepare for conflict.

“When it comes to readiness, I would offer that we have delivered. You delivered, and we have higher rates of combat readiness as a result,” said Berry.

One year ago, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis ordered the Air Force to achieve mission capable rates of 80 percent or higher for the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Lightning II inventories.

Air Force logisticians and maintainers shouldered the brunt of this great challenge. Berry proudly announced their achievements from the past year.

“Across all 5,500 of these aircraft we generated 690,000 sorties and 1.7 million flying hours,” he said.

Berry noted the starting mission capable rate of 69 percent across all three airframes increased to 76 percent at its highest point.

Monthly averages for the F-16 fleet were greater than 80 percent during multiple months throughout the year.

Berry also spent time discussing the future of the Air Force Logistics Enterprise.

“We need to stop having you check your 21st Century technology at the door when you come to work,” he said. “We, right now, are working to give you apps that connect all of log nation.”

By digitally connecting all elements of logistics, the Air Force aims to achieve unprecedented levels of automation and data analysis to better predict maintenance requirements.

“Imagine a world where we have access to the right data and the ability to routinely make decisions before components and parts fail,” he said.

Berry noted that identifying breaks before they happen will ultimately reduce the churn on maintainers across the force.

Reducing individual workload couldn’t come at a better time as an overwhelming number of the Air Force’s maintenance personnel are junior in rank and experience.

“Last year I announced that we closed the maintainer shortage. We were 4,000 maintainers short, and we have accessioned them all into our Air Force,” he said. “We have the people, and now we have to train them.”

The personnel gap has transformed into a training gap, and the Air Force recognizes the new generation of Airmen learn differently than the Airmen who came before them.

Berry said training units are taking steps to cater methods towards younger Airmen by harnessing augmented and virtual reality. They also plan to make training material available to trainees anywhere, anytime.

The State of Logistics concluded with Berry asking Airmen at every level to think critically about the future of sustainment and logistics.

“Advance the thought and help us create the future. I need your ideas,” he said. “Allow that innovation to fuel you and to move you.”

This year’s LOA Symposium marks the 37th iteration of the premier networking event for Air Force logisticians, maintainers, and acquisitions professionals.

The symposium will continue through Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Click here to view the full agenda: