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Time to invest in more CAF logistics?

dapaterson

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Chris, we posted at the same time.

You ask "Why does so much of the fleet have non-standard/obsolete parts that are not readily available and must be manufactured?"

Several reasons. First, combat vehicles are dissimilar from other vehicles.  Oilsands trucks don't carry 120mm cannons, for example.  Second, we retain fleets of military vehicles longer than most businesses would, meaning that spares are not always readily available on the market.  Third, the CAF's fleets are relatively small.  The acquisition of 1300 MilCOTS MSVS trucks represented a few extra shifts on the line; were they not militarized civilian vehicles, few manufacturers would see an advantage in maintaining a supply chain for such a small fleet, thus necessitating early acquisition of spares while the production lines are still open, or hefty costs later to retool to begin producing whatever item(s) had an unexpectedly short life and needed more spares.

Buying in common with allies is one way to reduce costs and (hopefully) keep the supply chains open longer.  But it's not guaranteed, our requirements may be different, and sometimes it does come down to "announceables" for the government of the day, or jobs in a desired location (cough Griffons cough).

There is no one perfect solution; unfortunately, in a world dominated by MBAs without common sense, minimum cost tends to win out regardless of the downstream impacts, since future costs are someone else's problem.
 

Halifax Tar

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Chris Pook said:
I'm not yanking chains HT.  I get the point. But I have the sense that some opportunities are being missed by not taking a wider view of the problems that you are forced to cope with on a daily basis.

Cheers.

Chris,

No worries at all mate.  No chain yanking perceived. :)

Why does so much of the fleet have non-standard/obsolete parts that are not readily available and must be manufactured?
That's a question for the for the NSPS thread.  Ask anyone who owns a Ford Model A how easy it is to maintain and find spare parts.  The older the platform the harder it is to maintain.  Especially when you drive them like you stole them, like we do.  Its what's killed the tankers and destroyers.

Supply always needs to be greater than demand.  No argument.  Vastly - a debatable valuation that is best defined by a number.
We are supposed to plan for +10%.  This is light in my eyes.

Agreed that from the factory to FEBA it could be weeks.  In fact I will say that for some things it could be months. And that is the real purpose of warehousing and inventory management.  The question remains though: How long to replace?
That is all speculation and relies on many variables.  Age of the platform being the huge factor. 
 

Colin Parkinson

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If we got rid of trucks sooner and replaced them with newer, we have less problems. You could have one factory in Canada, using existing designs to build MSVS type vehicles, proper medium and heavy tactical trucks and LSVW replacement. If you kept the replacement rate at a slow pace, they could literately stay in business full time. I know people will bring up the Iltis, LSVW and MLVW as why this won’t work well, but it’s likely the most politically acceptable solution and would actually give us vehicles. The idea would be that you have several lines set up for each type and the workers move from line to line as required. Some points in the line can be combined like the paint shop. You could also have a refurbishment facility on site using the same group of workers.
 

Halifax Tar

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Colin P said:
If we got rid of trucks sooner and replaced them with newer, we have less problems. You could have one factory in Canada, using existing designs to build MSVS type vehicles, proper medium and heavy tactical trucks and LSVW replacement. If you kept the replacement rate at a slow pace, they could literately stay in business full time. I know people will bring up the Iltis, LSVW and MLVW as why this won’t work well, but it’s likely the most politically acceptable solution and would actually give us vehicles. The idea would be that you have several lines set up for each type and the workers move from line to line as required. Some points in the line can be combined like the paint shop. You could also have a refurbishment facility on site using the same group of workers.

I have heard the same idea passed around for ship building.  A continuous production cycle.  No ship to last longer than 20 years.  Its interesting, I would like to see a cost analysis of it.  Sounds expensive and expensive isn't really the adjective the Canadian Public is willing to describe their support of us with.
 

Kirkhill

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Just clarifying HT.  :)

WRT the +10% - that strikes me as something of a scattergun approach.  I could see the need for some components to be +100% - especially when dealing with non-standard/obsolete gear.  And of course that drives up your cost of doing business which either has to be accommodated in your business plan or else you need to be looking at other ways of doing business.

On the other hand some items you might be able to reduce that 10% to 0%.  How difficult would it be to arrange with Danner to supply 10,000 pairs of boots a year from their existing catalogue?  That would mean them shipping 30 to 40 pairs of boots a day with a 3 to 5 day delivery. For Example.

WRT the trucks Colin. 

I accept there will always be a need for specialization but that comes at a cost.

Suppose a less rugged commercial standard were accepted.

Jeep puts out 250,000 Wranglers a year.  There are something like 2.5 Million Light Trucks in the 1500 range manufactured and probably the same again in the 2500-3500 range.  I have no idea what the numbers are for Mediums and Heavies.

But at what point does it make more sense to get a custom built truck with long lead components rather than just buying a dozen bog-standard units off the line and keeping a couple of them in theater as immediate replacements for the other 10 units that are on operations?


And HT - you are right to ask to see the numbers.  That is the real purpose of doing a life-cycle valuation.  It may work out in the long run to plan on replacing 1/3 of the fleet every seven years or 1/2 every 15.

 

dapaterson

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Colin P said:
If we got rid of trucks sooner and replaced them with newer, we have less problems. You could have one factory in Canada, using existing designs to build MSVS type vehicles, proper medium and heavy tactical trucks and LSVW replacement. If you kept the replacement rate at a slow pace, they could literately stay in business full time. I know people will bring up the Iltis, LSVW and MLVW as why this won’t work well, but it’s likely the most politically acceptable solution and would actually give us vehicles. The idea would be that you have several lines set up for each type and the workers move from line to line as required. Some points in the line can be combined like the paint shop. You could also have a refurbishment facility on site using the same group of workers.

Given the small numbers Canada buys, this isn't viable.  Our full purchase of a single type of vehicle represents a week or two of work for a proper factory.  What's the benefit to having the People's Glorious Military Truck Factory #17 in Chatham NB, where the cost per unit is extremely high and production rates are slow?
 

Kirkhill

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Hi DAP

Points taken - agreed strongly that, unfortunately, there can never be a one-size-fits-all solution.  The problem is always a matter of getting bogged down with the 20% which creates 80% of the aggravation while the other 80% gets ignored.
 

Halifax Tar

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Chris Pook said:
Just clarifying HT.  :)

WRT the +10% - that strikes me as something of a scattergun approach.  I could see the need for some components to be +100% - especially when dealing with non-standard/obsolete gear.  And of course that drives up your cost of doing business which either has to be accommodated in your business plan or else you need to be looking at other ways of doing business.

On the other hand some items you might be able to reduce that 10% to 0%.  How difficult would it be to arrange with Danner to supply 10,000 pairs of boots a year from their existing catalogue?  That would mean them shipping 30 to 40 pairs of boots a day with a 3 to 5 day delivery. For Example.

And HT - you are right to ask to see the numbers.  That is the real purpose of doing a life-cycle valuation.  It may work out in the long run to plan on replacing 1/3 of the fleet every seven years or 1/2 every 15.

The +10% is just a general rule.  But you are correct, some things could be +100% or 0% over stock. 

As for a contact like the boots, how did they creep in here ;) , That is more complicated as it has to go to PWGSC and all kinds of hoops must be jumped and many votes will need pandering. 

Ideally our fist task would be to de-politicize the defence procurement process.  Not meaning to remove government oversight but meaning to remove the political necessity of buying goods from places and companies to prop up business and buy votes.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Halifax Tar said:
The +10% is just a general rule.  But you are correct, some things could be +100% or 0% over stock. 

As for a contact like the boots, how did they creep in here ;) , That is more complicated as it has to go to PWGSC and all kinds of hoops must be jumped and many votes will need pandering. 

Ideally our fist task would be to de-politicize the defence procurement process.  Not meaning to remove government oversight but meaning to remove the political necessity of buying goods from places and companies to prop up business and buy votes.

It is not that simple, though.

We argue logistics here as if it was peace time civilian. But like every thing else military, you have to factor in wartime - even when you are not seeing a war coming. In WWII for instance, we bought the plans for corvettes and frigates (even for Tribal class destroyers), but their weapons (actual system - not the ammo) and sensors and burgeoning "electronics" more often than not had to come from the UK or the US, who were also at war. Who do you think always got first dibs? For instance: by the end of 1942, all British ships - corvettes included - were equipped with gyrocompasses, some (larger ones) even had two. Yet only 15% of Canadian corvettes were so equiped.

For many things we store, matters have not changed. Take for instance the Mk46 torpedoes. We have the stocks we carry on the ships, plus whatever is at the ammo depots in Halifax and Victoria.

When I was in, we made a quick calculation of the numbers available and then, using not the data derived by the genius in operational research in Ottawa, but the actual expenditures the Brits experienced chasing only two effective Argentine diesel boats in the Falkland (hint: ASW ammo is the only item they almost ran out of), and figured that when the balloon went up with the ruskies, we would have stock on hand for two convoys (3 weeks). You tell me where we can get 46's in three weeks. Well, the airmen may not like the Griffon, but if it keeps a helicopter plant going in Canada, that can quickly go back to producing helicopters in Canada for the CAF, instead of getting Blackhawks six months too late because we were at the end of the American queue, then so be it: It is as much a strategic decision as it is a political one.

But similarly, at the beginning of WWII, volunteers went for months drilling in their civvies because no uniform where on hand. Again, if we now have say 55,000 CAF members that require the Army CADPAT, shouldn't we have another 55,000 on hand for "emergency" issues in time of rapid expansion - and if you rotate these extra ones with the ones used and due for replacement and accept a dipping in the "war" stocks from time to time, then you should never have a shortage in peace time. And if changes to the uniform means a whole bunch gets destroyed and replaced from time to time, then so be it - but when the need suddenly occurs, they are on hand.
   
 

Kirkhill

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But - equally

Why are you wasting money stocking things that can be readily procured from production lines currently operating at capacities far beyond your current or projected needs?

Why make life hard on yourselves by writing detailed specs for customized equipment (MilCOTS MSVS and Milverados come to mind) when you could just as easily buy commercial vehicles and adjust your procedures to accord with their maximum capabilities? 

Then you can save both your dollars and your projecting resources for the stuff that isn't readily available.
 

dapaterson

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Some confusion on your part there - MSVS and LUVW MilCOTS were very open-ended to industry, with a minimum of customization, and are maintained by dealer networks that also stock parts.

You can best view army vehicles as three families:

Blue fleet.  Off the dealer lot.  No customization.  Managed like any other commercial fleet.  Maintained on warranties, disposed of in a normal lifecycle.

Semi-green fleets.  Bought from a manufacturer of civilian vehicles, largely a civilian pattern vehicle, but with minor customizations (power systems for radios, blackout drive for example).  Maintained by dealer network.  Support training, but cheaper than green fleet.  For example, MSVS and LUVW MilCOTS.

Green fleets.  Bought from defence contractors.  Maintenance can either be in-house or via contract.  Vehicles that can be uparmoured if necessary, and perform a variety of roles.  Focus is on expeditionary uses.


Thus, there's already an attempt to leverage best too for best job.  Different fleets for different purposes, at different cost points, with different maintenance methods.
 

Colin Parkinson

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dapaterson said:
Given the small numbers Canada buys, this isn't viable.  Our full purchase of a single type of vehicle represents a week or two of work for a proper factory.  What's the benefit to having the People's Glorious Military Truck Factory #17 in Chatham NB, where the cost per unit is extremely high and production rates are slow?

Jobs in an area that has a lot of people trained and experienced in that area. You don't need a full out shift and they can work at a slower pace, you could also bundle in automotive component refurbishment for the wheeled armour as well. I shall call it the National Truck Procurement Strategy (NTPS) and base it in Ontario. Fancy name, good voting harvesting location, technical decent paying jobs, longterm, lots of opportunity for PR announcements and by the way trucks for the military. A quick look at Wiki provides an estimated 10,000 vehicles on the books, which means at 660 vehicles a year they will replace the fleet every 15 years. So roughly 2 vehicles a day. It's not much but then you won't need a big staff either.     
 

CBH99

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I don't mean to derail the thread, so forgive me.  I'm sure the initial concept of the thread was more along the lines of improving logisitical capabilities, even at the strategic level (i.e. C-177 Globemasters, etc)

I don't mean to dive too far into the truck idea posted by ColinP - but just to further inquire about that idea.  (Since honestly, it seems like a good one.)

The trucks that come out of that little factory, where would they go?  To a depot, and then be distributed to units as needed?  Or stocked until a fleet replacement is required?  Or...??

The idea of a little "make work" factory producing a few trucks a week isn't a bad idea if it can produce them at a decent price & it keeps our truck fleets in better shape.      :2c:
 

Kirkhill

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dapaterson said:
Some confusion on your part there - MSVS and LUVW MilCOTS were very open-ended to industry, with a minimum of customization, and are maintained by dealer networks that also stock parts.

You can best view army vehicles as three families:

Blue fleet.  Off the dealer lot.  No customization.  Managed like any other commercial fleet.  Maintained on warranties, disposed of in a normal lifecycle.

Semi-green fleets.  Bought from a manufacturer of civilian vehicles, largely a civilian pattern vehicle, but with minor customizations (power systems for radios, blackout drive for example).  Maintained by dealer network.  Support training, but cheaper than green fleet.  For example, MSVS and LUVW MilCOTS.

Green fleets.  Bought from defence contractors.  Maintenance can either be in-house or via contract.  Vehicles that can be uparmoured if necessary, and perform a variety of roles.  Focus is on expeditionary uses.


Thus, there's already an attempt to leverage best too for best job.  Different fleets for different purposes, at different cost points, with different maintenance methods.

Thanks for the clarification -

Then I would be asking the question of why isn't there more exploitation of the blue fleet?

And my second question would be why did it take so long to create an RFP that resulted in one, single, solitary, unique, individual bidder for a the MilCOTS MSVS?

And that resulted in 6 separate variants?

Couldn't the 895 trucks with extended cabs and tarps, the 128 trucks with extended cabs and cages and the 100 extended cabs with flatbeds, all have been procured and maintained under blue fleet rules?

I don't perceive any major modifications from a standard truck in those vehicles.

Did they have to be purchased as a fleet or could they have been reasonably procured as an ongoing standard?

 

McG

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From CFJP 4-0, the four lines of support are:
a.  First line support. Support capabilities that are organic or allocated to a ship, unit or squadron.

b.  Second line support. Support capabilities that are organic or allocated to a formation.

c.  Third line support. Support capabilities provided to a military force within a theatre of operations or at installations established along the Strategic lines of communication.

d.  Fourth line support. Support capabilities provided by Strategic-level resources, such as national depots, contractors, or industry.
There have been discussions about where commercial service providers can inject services to deployed operations or which is the most forward line of support that civilians can deliver.  From an Army perspective (maybe not from a navy or air perspective), the cut-off is the operational to tactical divide.  The divide is at third line by the definitions above, and it will probably always be at the JTFSC.
  • For a BG deployment with an FSG that is a sub-unit of the JTFSC, the operational divide is internal to the JTFSC with the FSG reaching into the tactical level while the remainder of the unit is operational.  In this case, civilian delivery could go direct to the second line (JTFSC).
  • If Canada deployed a land formation, the operational divide would be between the service battalion and the JTFSC.  In this case, civilian delivery could go direct to the third line (JTFSC).
  • In the improbable event of a major conflict with a deployed Canadian Corps, the Corps could be an operational level HQ and civilian delivery might bypass the JTFSC for delivery to the Corps Support Command (COSCOM) ... but don't expect we will ever see that.

Halifax Tar said:
What you have to remember about the Canadian Forces Supply System (CFSS) is that it is the Supply System (SS) for the RCN, CA, RCAF and any other plethora of organizations that are with in the CAF.

...

Now we have 2 true depots 25 CFSD (Montreal) and 7 CFSD (Edmonton) (Not including Ammo) to support the entire CAF and all of its missions, business and deployments. 

You also have to take into account that the 2nd and 3rd lines you talk about are expected to support the RCN and the RCAF, not just he Army.  Both of those elements are nothing without their ships and planes.  And if they aren't properly supported then those two elements simply cease to be able to even attempt the wishes and whims of the Canadian public and government. 

When discussing the CAF Logistics or CFSS you cannot simply make changes for one element without consultation and agreement of the others because ...
Generally, I agree.  Any changes to CAF logistics must support all environments.  But, change should not be contingent upon unanimity across the L1s.  The CDS and VCDS can give orders to move in a direction that is best for the CAF, even if it leaves someone a little grumpy because new ways of support are not that person's comfort zone.

Chris Pook said:
Why are you wasting money stocking things that can be readily procured from production lines currently operating at capacities far beyond your current or projected needs?

Why make life hard on yourselves by writing detailed specs for customized equipment (MilCOTS MSVS and Milverados come to mind) when you could just as easily buy commercial vehicles and adjust your procedures to accord with their maximum capabilities? 
Because civilian trucks break on the first day of exercise and we cannot afford trucks as consumables.  Because civilian trucks do not have black-out drive and we need to operate discreetly in the dark.  Because civilian trucks are not designed with NATO standard power and so cannot support military radios.  Because civilian trucks don't have hard points to mount a machine gun.  Because civilian trucks do not have CARC paint and so cannot be decontaminated from a chemical attack.

dapaterson said:
Chris, we posted at the same time.

You ask "Why does so much of the fleet have non-standard/obsolete parts that are not readily available and must be manufactured?"

Several reasons. First, combat vehicles are dissimilar from other vehicles.  ...  Third, the CAF's fleets are relatively small.  ...

Buying in common with allies is one way to reduce costs and (hopefully) keep the supply chains open longer.
This is an area where we could do a little more to help ourselves.  Retention (or acquisition) of micro-fleets that offer nothing unique in the baseline platform.  We retain several generations of LAV, the M113A3/TLAV family, and Cougar MRAP when the roles of all of these vehicles could be satisfied by one common platform.  Not only would this reduce the number of equipment management teams on the payroll in Gatineau, it would reduce the variety and absolute quantity of parts sitting on shelves in all levels of warehouse.  It might also give us a little more clout to keep supply chains open and to address obsolescence issues.

dapaterson said:
Second, we retain fleets of military vehicles longer than most businesses would, meaning that spares are not always readily available on the market. 
This is another area where we must do better.


Chris Pook said:
Never mind the flies. Let's get back to the beer.

A good part of what you are talking about, in my opinion, is inventory management.  It is an ongoing discussion for most businesses.  The demand for inventory goes up and down on an irregular basis.

Stock is not held unless there is a good need for it.  In other words, in the event of an anticipated sales campaign then inventory will be created for a short period of time and moved expeditiously  At the other end inventory can creep up on you if it isn't moving out as fast as anticipated.  In which case a sales campaign is instituted to get rid of the material.

No company would contemplate holding inventory for a year let alone multiples of years.  For one thing they would put their suppliers out of business.  For another their products would be out of sync with market demands and current technology.

The real question for you, again in my opinion, is how quickly can your supply chain move goods to you to meet your needs.  The faster that happens the less inventory, the less warehousing, the less rolling stock you will need and the more agile you will become.

Having said that real transactions take real time - time that you won't have if you are in contact.  So you need some inventory.  The next question is: how long does it take to get a Day of Supply from the factory to FEBA?
I think it might be easier to understand the problem if you try to answer (and quantify) what is a Day of Supply.  The question has been asked before including by Col Conrad (who has already been referenced in this thread).  Some things are easy to quantify.  If you know the number of soldiers, then you know the number of breakfast, lunch and supper required.  But for most everything else (including consumption requirements of spare and replacement parts to equipment casualties) the enemy gets a vote.  For ammo, 1 DOS must be greater than the average day's consumption because, if your unit only carries what it will consume on an average day, you can expect to run-out often.  Is your 1 DOS based on the 95th percentile, so you only expect to run out of ammunition about five days in every three months?  That still seems too often to accept.

We need our supply system to have the capacity to meet the spike demand and the surge demand (a spike with endurance) that we were unable to predict on a calendar.  We cannot consume ammunition at a rate to sustain war time production levels without a war, but the multi-year stockpiles gives us a large quantity of nebulously defined DOS so that we can fight while industry ramps itself to wartime production.  At a national level, we could reduce the age of our stock and increase capacity of our peace time ammo production by doing more range training with live ammo (less simulation), but I don't think we should start shooting at our trucks to increase the demand for peace time parts production.
 

dapaterson

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If we want vehicles that soldiers can use to practice military things like blackout drive, and use of radios (and yes, there's a disconnect due to ongoing shortages of radios) then we have to get some minor customization.  That is the point of MilCOTS - it's almost off the shelf and therefore should be cheaper and faster to buy.  Manufacturers will charge an arm and a leg (instead of just one leg below the knee) to mod small numbers of vehicles each year, rather than have the line do it for a fleet buy (even one as small as 1300), thus the inclination to buy a fleet all at once.  I do think that a cyclical buy could work; it might be worthwhile to mod the vehicles in-house through 202 Workshop (though I'd have to see a cost/benefit and business case analysis to determine the best method).  That could also provide flexibility to grow or shrink fleets as requirements change over the life of the fleet.

As for the length of time for MSVS MilCOTS: I don't have the timeline handy, but often delays are due to aligning a purchase with when funds will be available.  There was only one bidder due to DND's checkered past in some procurements.  I suspect other potential bidders weighed the cost of bidding against the probability of success, and figured out that the potential profit did not outweigh the potential PITA.
 

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I'm curious.  There are other, much larger militaries that have the same general military requirements as we do, but do them in sometimes different ways.  Ideally, were money no object we'd have our uniquely Canadian way of doing things that best suits OUR national requirements and have the money to be able to supply that specific equipment. 

Unfortunately we don't seem to be willing as a nation to supply the money required to equip our military that way.  At what point does it become better overall in terms of military capability to shift our methods to match readily available equipment rather than ordering unique equipment to suite our methods and maybe not being able to afford enough to truely be effective?

Who decides when a "Canadianization" is worth the extra cost over what we could buy piggy-backed on the orders by a larger military? 

 

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McG:

That was a better answer than I probably deserved.

However -  ;D

With respect to the provision of modifications - You will have to work harder to convince me that none of the varieties of options that come of civilian lines on a daily basis are incompatible with military usage.  And, by the way, breaking vehicles on the first day of issue is neither restricted to military drivers nor civilian vehicles.  It might be indicative of drivers not trained to manage within the capabilities of their vehicle.

And if I can't get the solution direct off of a Chrysler/Ford/GM line then, before I have to build my own mod shop, as DAP suggested, there are a number of firms like these guys at Intercontinental that can work with the production line solutions and adjust to requirements.  And they are just one of many.  But, again as DAP suggests, the real test is whether it pencils out on a spreadsheet.

Some up front costs may be higher.  Some compromises will be required (they always are in every design). But.  Availability may be improved. Maintenance costs may be reduced. Logistical burden to support the fleet should be the goal so that more of that effort can be directed forward.

I don't know that this is a viable course of action.  I continue to suggest that effort should be invested in seeing how much can be done with readily available, standard tools rather than having to invent wheels peculiar to our needs.  And sometimes, listening to the conversations here, I get the strong impression that we get fixated on working with Formula One cars and don't spend enough time figuring out what can be accomplished with a Chevy.

Are TTPs that heavily ingrained that it is easier to create the perfect piece of kit than adjust the TTPs?







 

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http://army.ca/forums/threads/87547/post-1451042.html#msg1451042

Doesn't this play into this discussion as well?  Even when we keep the same kit the kit is not the same?  I could also point to your issue rifle - which started life as the M16, became the M16A1, the A2, the A3, the C7, the C7A1, C7A2, C7A3, C7CT, the C8, the C8A1, C8A2, C8A3, C8CT, not to mention M4s and LSW variants.  And the change in ammunition standards along the way.

Or even the benighted question of boots and what makes a perfect pair.

Officially, in all cases, and for public consumption, we/you are still using "my grandfather's axe".  Reality is a much more confusing mess and uniformity seems to something relegated to Napoleon's armies - except that his armies weren't uniform either.
 

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Chris:

I apologize for not quoting the specifInc parts of your post that I am responding to:

When suggesting that we buy off the shelf and then modify via a second contractor you fail to take into account that this no necessitates two procurement process from RFP through to purchase and delivery one for the truck and another for the modifications, and also two separate instances of producers mark up being applied.  There is also more work on the part of PWSGC to ensure that the vehicles are phased from the manufacturer to the modifier. To give you a simple realize example a unit I recently worked with procured five 3/4 ton trucks, some modifications were require in order to make them more suitable for driving on unimproved roads and ice roads.  It took a year before all five of those vehicles were kitted in accordance with the required specifications because of the legal requirements of the contracting system
 
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