Improving Readiness with a Public-Private Partnership: NAVAIR’s Auxiliary Power Unit Total Logistics Support Program
By: William Lucyshyn, Rene Rendon, Stephanie Novello
The APU public-private partnership was originally conceived of as a commercial outsourcing initiative during a Navy acquisition conference in Arizona in early 1996. At the depot level, as well, staff knew that a reengineering of logistics support processes, to reflect a more performance-based approach, was needed in order to reduce the cost of managing and distributing reparable APUs and to increase system reliability.
A further incentive pushing NADEP-CP towards embracing a more performance- based approach in partnership with the private sector came from the Defense Reform Initiative (DRI). In the DRI, Secretary of Defense William Cohen defined four major areas for applying reforms, including reengineering, consolidating, competing, and eliminating. Bautista and her staff believed that the DRI could be applied to the F/A-18 APU depot maintenance program, specifically in the form of a partnership between the government and private industry.
The real impetus behind the partnership, however, came in January 1998, when, due to new legislation to introduce competition into depot maintenance, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) met with Honeywell to discuss partnering with a public depot. The new legislation, section 2469 of U.S. Code Title 10, requires that a public- private competition be held before any depot-level workload is moved from the public sector to the private sector. The new requirements of Title 10, coupled with Bautista’s belief that a public-private partnership would be the key to reducing F/A-18 APU costs while increasing reliability and availability, made NADEP-CP a prime candidate for being the first Naval Aviation Depot to implement a public-private partnership.