Today’s DOD mechanics operate in a data-centric environment where digital data is increasingly used to field, maintain, and upgrade weapons systems more rapidly and economically over the systems’ lifecycle. This digital thread appears throughout the product life cycle and is founded on 3D product definition shared across the enterprise, enabling rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal. It represents a fundamental shift to 3D from 2D. However, obtaining the technical data package (TDP) and using that 3D data is often a challenge as well as converting 2D data to 3D data. New technologies are now available that allow maintainers the opportunity to take advantage of 3D technical data in new ways. One of those is additive manufacturing which uses 3D technical data to build items such as prototypes, tools, and repair parts while dramatically reducing time and costs. Another is the development of simulations and animation. Data repositories such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and material resource planning (MRP) help manage the process definition, while e-sourcing tools help extend ERP and MRP across the supply chain. This forum will identify challenges, research, implementation issues, and lessons learned involving using the digital for all activities in the product’s lifecycle.
1300-1305: Welcome, Intro & Purpose – Steve McKee (OSD-MR)
1305-1309: Administrative Notes – Debbie Lilu (NCMS)
1309-1335: AF Digital Campaign (Sustainment) – Shawn Lyman (AFLCMC) Presentation
1335-1405: Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle – Nick Hudeck (Siemens)
1405-1430: Digital Thread for Non-Destructive Inspection – Charlie Buynak Presentation
1430-1455: “Hermes Sprint” Update – The Coordinated Implementation of Sustainment Technology – Steve McKee (OSD-MR) Presentation
1455-1500: Wrap-Up – Steve McKee (OSD-MR)
Event: On 29 March 2022, the Joint Technology Exchange Group (JTEG), in coordination with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), hosted a virtual forum on “Digital Thread”.
Purpose: The purpose of this forum was to discuss the challenges and solutions, research and development, and implementation of the digital thread for all activities in the product’s lifecycle.
Welcome: Ray Langlais (OSD-MR) welcomed everyone to the forum and previewed the agenda. Steve McKee, OSD-MR, provided a brief introduction of the presenters and emphasized the significance, challenges and impact that digital thread technology has on the DoD sustainment community.
Administrative: This was an open forum. The presentations, along with questions and answers, were conducted through Adobe Connect. One of the presentations was available online during the forum. Efforts continue to get all the presentations cleared to post on the JTEG website at: http://jteg.ncms.org/. A separate audio line was used. We had 86 participants from across DOD, industry, and academia join in the forum.
AF Digital Campaign (Sustainment) – Shawn Lyman, AFLCMC, emphasized how the current DoD acquisition process is being outpaced by our competitors. For example, it takes the US on average sixteen years to deliver an idea to operational capability, versus fewer than seven for China. In response this challenge, the Dept of Air Force is developing the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) which is seeking to develop a digitally empowered Air Force equipped with an agile workforce, state of the art technologies, and intuitive processes that drive model-based enterprise decision making, enable automation, institutionalize open architectures, and leverage authoritative models and data to ensure seamless stakeholder collaboration across the acquisition lifecycle. He described the use of Log IT for portfolio management and the role of the Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO), as well as the Lighthouse Integration Technology Engine (LITE) which integrates technology and data through a robust, secure platform enabling a new maintenance paradigm. He concluded with a description of the digital twin efforts conducted for the B-1 and the F-16 weapons platforms.
Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) – Nick Hudeck, Siemens, stated that the Army’s digital thread efforts are similar to what Shawn described earlier. He stressed that we need to use digital processes not just at the beginning of the life cycle, but through sustainment as well. He stated that we should not be restricted to one vendor and should strive to spend less. He suggested the use of CBM+-like tools and the desire to go “full-cloud” in the near future. He also stated the DoD should work the Digital thread as a joint effort.
Digital Thread for Non-Destructive Inspection – Charlie Buynak described a pilot demonstration of the Advanced Sustainment Knowledge via Nondestructive Evaluation (ASK NDE) capability. The scope is to research, develop, and demonstrate a digital NDI/E data capability for the enhancement of field and depot inspection, engineering, and maintenance operations. The pilot aimed to facilitate NDI data capture and documentation, and from a long-term perspective, enable the use of full raw NDI data to improve sustainment. He described the KC-135 NDI workflow, inspection reports, and data flow, and then an example of the prototype digital NDI data reporting capability. He then discussed the functional systems integrated database and detailed some example screens. He concluded with a full data capture schematic of ASK NDE.
“Hermes’ Sprint” – The Coordinated Implementation of Sustainment Technology – Steve McKee, OSD-MR, provided a status on the “Hermes’ Sprint” effort underway. He stated that the JTEG Principals and others met 17-18 Feb and refined the three capability gaps identified by the military Services’ Sustainment Technology Executives (STEs) on 8 February. The STEs were briefed on 11 Mar and concurred with the refined gaps, and also asked for additional details. They requested the development of a technology-agnostic process to bridge the “Valley of Death” and agreed to pilot one solution through this process for DoD-wide implementation. The next brief to the STEs will be in April.
Q&A – A Q&A occurred after each briefer finished their presentation. Questions and answers will be posted on the JTEG website with these minutes.
Closing Comments: Steve McKee thanked the presenters and participants for their attendance and all the work being done to support the DoD sustainment operations with digital thread capabilities.
- Obtain copies of cleared presentations once they are approved to post to a public website, and post to the JTEG website at http://jteg.ncms.org/.
Next JTEG Meeting: The next scheduled JTEG virtual forum is 26 April 2022, 1:00 – 3:00 pm EST. The topic is “Cybersecurity”.
POC this action is Ray Langlais, email@example.com, (571) 633-8019