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Managing U.S. Air Force Aircraft Operating and Support Costs: Insights from Recent RAND Analysis and Opportunities for the Future
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Air Force aircraft operating and support O and S costs grew at an average rate of 6.5 percent per year1between fiscal years FYs 1996 and 2011 despite a reduction of over 1,000 aircraft in the Air Force fleet and minimal increases in total flying activity. Aircraft O and S costs climbed from 23 percent of the Air Forces total obligational authority in FY 1996 to 28 percent by FY 2011. While O and S costs have declined somewhat since FY 2011, they continue to threaten to crowd out future force modernization efforts, including research and development and procurement. Detailed data to illuminate the full set of drivers of these trends are not widely available or consistently analyzed by Air Force analysts. As a result, there is a lack of understanding among Air Force leadership about the primary drivers of recent O and S cost growth and the linkages between mission readiness and O and S costs. This presents challenges as the Air Force works to mitigate and even reverse these cost trends while balancing mission readiness going into the future.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE