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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2017

VTAC meets to evolve vehicle mission support operations

By Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron hosted the Vehicle Transformation and Acquisition Council at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., July 31 to Aug. 4, 2017.

Once a year, all the lead vehicle managers throughout the U.S. Air Force gather at the VTAC conference to highlight changes to new and old programs, discuss pertinent issues and work together to evolve vehicle management into a more streamlined force.

The warehouse module, one of the systems integrated this year, was a main topic during the meeting. The system’s integration ties the vehicle maintenance community together allowing installations throughout the Air Force to share vehicle parts with one another.

“Most of the changes that have been outlined by the members in the VTAC conference are for fleet management of our assets and some of the ways we utilize these assets,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Billy Martin, 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight superintendent. “We currently manage our assets locally, so if we have parts on-hand or parts available in our shop, those are going to be in this new system and seen by other fleet managers across the Air Force. We can tap into each other’s resources helping our mission capabilities rates as far as parts are concerned.”

As the warehouse module brings together the Air Force’s vehicle maintenance career field, VTAC also discussed the release of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle which ties all the Armed Forces together. The JLTV will begin to replace the Humvee across all branches of service by 2019.

Led by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, the new vehicle was created for global mission needs instead of just battlefield requirements, offering greater capabilities in terms of payload capacity, survivability and performance.

“The JLTV was designed with a scalable armored approach, therefore coming with base-level armor, and the ability to add levels of armor to it depending on defense needs,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Thompson, 441st VSCOS transformation and sustainment program manager. “We can tailor the vehicles’ requirements around battlefield requirements—this is preparing us for the next generation of warfare.”

According to Thompson, organizations will find a change in maintenance and reliability due to the in-depth technology of the JLTV.

As with the JLTV, the Air Force has been moving into a more technologically- and environmentally-friendly force.

“We have moved into using bio-environmental-friendly engine oil and greases, and electric and hybrid vehicles,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Moss, 441st VSCOS vehicle program manager. “We are constantly looking at the recycling processes and how it’ll affect the end products. Every year we are starting to move more towards hybrids and alternative fuels.”

In transforming vehicle management, VTAC looks to budgeting processes to evolve the field. This year, 441st VSCOS moved into centralized funding, saving the Air Force money by controlling the budget for the entire fleet.

More so, 441st VSCOS also worked to revitalize the career field by selling vehicles no longer in use to other government agencies and the public. The 441st VSCOS then uses the money they make reselling vehicles to provide new tools and equipment to each installation’s mechanics.

“We have a small team here at the 441st VSCOS that work very hard to take care of the entire career field and that’s over 6,000 people that are vehicle maintainers and vehicle fleet controllers,” said Moss. “Our jobs are to make sure that they have the tools they need to complete the mission.”

Covering everything from the health of the career field, manning, logistics, and budgeting, VTAC works to ensure the livelihood of vehicle management in terms of procurement, posturing and mobilizing of vehicle fleets.

“It’s important for VTAC to meet because we are mission support, that’s our operation,” said Moss. “We support whatever mission you are assigned to, from Global Strike Command to Air Combat Command, so it’s important to meet to discuss the issues. We discuss how we can make the Air Force better and our career field better, and how we can take care of people, our Airmen, Soldiers and civilians–that’s a big one.”