ATAC seeks to improve the utilization of PANDA

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline
  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The most recent Advanced Tactical Acquisition Corps team wrapped up on Nov. 22, 2023, culminating with a brief to the Honorable Andrew P. Hunter, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

ATAC, or the Advanced Tactical Acquisition Corps, is a program intended to provide a small team of competitively selected, high-performance junior workforce members in Air Force Materiel Command with opportunities to engage with senior leaders across the Department of Defense and industry and participate in tailored enrichment through the Defense Acquisition University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

One of the key purposes of the program is assisting individuals with leadership development.

“It’s a leadership development and retention program designed to provide opportunities (like briefing senior leaders and solving enterprise-wide problems) to emerging leaders in order to elevate their skills and motivate them to keep those skills here in the Air Force,” said Daniel Golem, an Air Force Life Cycle Management Center F-16 Foreign Military Sales program manager.

The team was assigned a real-world US Air Force problem to research and brief actionable recommendations to leaders from the center, major command, and Secretary of the Air Force office.

The team was working on a problem statement from the Rapid Sustainment Office about how to improve the utilization of PANDA – a predictive analytics and decision assistant tool that helps the Air Force repair parts predictively using AI and machine learning instead of reactively when a part fails.

“This concept is called condition-based maintenance plus (CBM+) with the plus being AI,” Golem said. “The idea is that with a proactive approach, we can reduce unscheduled maintenance, allowing us to plan maintenance more efficiently – cost, schedule, and performance improvements. Basically, we want to catch that parts are about to fail before they fail.”

Golem added that the utilization of this tool affects the maintenance process across the board from field units to the program offices to the supply chain.

“The tool is great, but we found reasons why it isn’t being used and aim to address those reasons so the capability can be used to its full potential,” Golem said.

Typically, a problem statement is provided to the cohort at the beginning of the program. This was the first ATAC cohort to be given several problem statements to vote on prior to the start of the program.

The ATAC-15 cohort came up with a six-part solution to the provided problem:
  1. A PANDA Pilot Program.
  2. Enhance criteria for CBM+ eligible parts.
  3. Define streamlined success metrics.
  4. Redefine dedicated CBM+ working groups.
  5. Review the data analysis process.
  6. Leverage the force.
“These recommendations have been lauded through the chain of command and our problem sponsor, RSO, along with HAF/A4 have agreed to champion this path forward after ATAC concludes,” Golem said.

Team members described the experience as overwhelmingly positive, as well as helping them define career goals and how to reach them.

Other members of ATAC-15 include:

1. Timothy Koch – VC-25B Avionics IPT Lead & Program Manager, AFLCMC, WPAFB
2. Nathan Schavz – Engineer, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
3. Capt Jamail Walker – Contracting Officer, Section Chief, Platform One Contracting, AFLCMC, JBSA-Lackland
4. Daniel Golem – Program Manager, F-16 Foreign Military Sales, AFLCMC/WAMI, WPAFB
5. Capt Renee Allen – Small Business Program Manager, AFRL/AFOSR, Arlington, VA
6. Thaddeus Williams – Materials Engineer, Polymers and Specialty Materials Branch, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, WPAFB
7. Andrew Onanian – RF/Electrical Engineer, Advanced Programs Office, Air Dominance Division, AFLCMC, Eglin AFB
8. Deborah Davis-Brutchen – Intellectual Property Manager, Air Force Technology and Transition Office, AFRL/SPT, WPAFB
9. Valerie Mancias – Contract Specialist, AFWERX Technical Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB