The Air Force is looking to raise service readiness by overhauling sustainment practices, asking industry in a recent request for information for solutions to fill gaps across its operations and maintenance enterprise.
The RFI encompasses air and space platforms and asks for resiliency solutions for “critical systems” ranging from ventilation to cybersecurity. A new approach to sustainment comes in response to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s seventh operational imperative, the RFI says, which is aimed at ensuring the service can transition to a wartime posture.
The RFI is the second released by the service in recent weeks that seeks new solutions to meet Kendall’s seventh operational imperative. A similar notice posted Oct. 31 asked industry to help the service revamp its testing and training infrastructure to prepare for a “high-end fight,” a reference to conflict with China.
According to the RFI, the service is specifically aiming to ensure warfighters are “properly positioned” and supported by “resilient infrastructure, responsive supply chains, and deployment and distribution networks that will deliver persistent mission generation.” Interested vendors will not need a solution for every topic, the notice says.
Gaps identified by the RFI suggest the service is exploring new approaches to force distribution to properly sustain its growing portfolio of space platforms, as one area asks industry for solutions to swap military and civilian personnel between Air Force Materiel Command and Space Force bases.
Other issues discussed by the notice indicate the service is incorporating lessons learned from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as the RFI calls for contractors to “identify surge capacity in operations” and a timeline for how long such a capability could be activated.
The criterion follows the steady flow of arms to Kyiv that has dwindled key weapons stockpiles, leading industry to restart dormant factory lines as the Pentagon and Congress call to surge production.
Some areas identified by the RFI may have quick fixes, but the notice suggests the Air Force is looking for long-term solutions: contractors are asked to “bridge the gap between ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ in 10 to 15 years,” signaling that the service’s sustainment modernization will be over a decade in the making.
Vendors are asked to respond to the RFI by Nov. 25.