Integrated Logistics Support

Definition: Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) is the management and technical process through which supportability and logistic support considerations are integrated into the design of a system or equipment and taken into account throughout its life cycle. It is the process by which all elements of logistic support are planned, acquired, tested, and provided in a timely and cost-effective manner [1].

Keywords: acquisition logistics, computer resources support, design interface, life-cycle cost, life-cycle logistics, maintenance planning, technical data


Supportability and life-cycle costs are generally driven by technical design that occurs during the development stage of the acquisition process. The experience of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has consistently shown that the last 5 percent increase in performance adds a disproportionate increase in life-cycle costs, generally due to the use of new and often unproven technologies and design, which drive up supportability costs. This increase in costs is found regardless of the support plan (organic or contractor support) and is a significant cost factor in the total sustainment budget of government departments and agencies.

MITRE SE Roles & Expectations: MITRE staff are expected to understand the impact of technical decisions made during design and development on the usability and life-cycle support of the system. They are expected to account for life-cycle logistics considerations as part of the systems engineering process.


Traditionally, MITRE systems engineering support to acquisition programs has not strongly focused on ILS. However, life-cycle costs are increasingly driven by engineering considerations during the early stages of acquisition. As a consequence, there is an important cause-and-effect relationship between systems engineering and ILS that systems engineers need to be aware of and account for in their activities.

In addition to the general ILS best practices and lessons learned discussed below, this topic contains two articles. The Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability article system discusses best practices and lessons learned in developing design attributes that have significant impacts on the sustainment or total Life Cycle Costs (LCC) of a system. A companion article, Affordability, Efficiency, and Effectiveness, in the Systems Engineering Life-Cycle Building Blocks section also contains best practices and lessons learned for managing LCC. The second article under this topic is an ILS subject of special interest. The Managing Energy Efficiency article discusses engineering considerations of conserving energy resources during production, operations, and disposal of systems. Impacts include not just environmental concerns but also system performance parameters (e.g., range of host vehicle) and recurring operating costs. For example, engineering considerations of data centers are increasingly focused on technical issues and cost concerns of the energy needed to run them.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

The Computer Resources Working Group: Computer resources support encompasses the facilities, hardware, software, documentation, manpower, and personnel needed to operate and support mission-critical computer hardware/software systems. As the primary end item, support equipment, and training devices all increase in complexity, more and more software is being used. The expense associated with the design and maintenance of software programs is so high that one cannot afford to poorly manage this process. It is critical to establish some form of computer resource working group to accomplish the necessary planning and management of computer resources support [2].

The Impact of Maintenance Planning: Maintenance planning establishes maintenance concepts and requirements for the life of the system. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • Levels of repair
  • Repair times
  • Testability requirements
  • Support equipment needs
  • Manpower and skills required
  • Facilities
  • Interservice, organic and contractor mix of repair responsibility
  • Site activation.

This element has a great impact on the planning, development, and acquisition of other logistics support elements. Taken together, these items constitute a substantial portion of the recurring cost (and therefore life-cycle cost) of a procurement. Another factor related to this, and one that should be seriously considered, is energy use and efficiency. The rising cost of energy and its proportion within the overall recurring cost should be managed proactively (refer to the article on Managing Energy Efficiency within this section of the Guide).

Early Consideration of Manpower Requirements: Manpower and personnel involves the identification and acquisition of personnel (military and civilian) who have the skills and grades required to operate, maintain, and support systems over their lifetime. Early identification is essential. If the needed manpower requires adding staff to an organization, a formalized process of identification and justification needs to be made to higher authority. Add to this the necessity to train these staff, new and existing, in their respective functions on the new system, and the seriousness of any delay in accomplishing this element becomes apparent. In the case of user requirements, manpower needs can, and in many cases do, ripple all the way back to recruiting quotas. Required maintenance skills should be considered during the design phase of the program; unique technology often requires unique skills for maintenance. Note that information technology expertise and information security skills can still be lacking in current organic maintenance resources and may require investment in adequate training.

Ensuring a Supply Support Structure: Supply support consists of all the management actions, procedures, and techniques necessary to determine requirements to acquire, catalog, receive, store, transfer, issue, and dispose of spares, repair parts, and supplies (including energy sources and waste). In lay terms, this means having the right spares, repair parts, and supplies available, in the right quantities, at the right place, right time, and right price. The process includes provisioning for initial support as well as acquiring, distributing, and replenishing inventories. An aircraft can be grounded just as quickly for not having the oil to put in the engine as it can for not having the engine.

Evaluating the Supply Chain: As stated above, access to spare equipment and supplies is critical to the operation of the system delivered. Not only should there be a logistics process in place to handle spares and supplies, there also needs to be assurance that the supply chain will continue or have alternate sources. Care should be taken to assess supply chains for continued viability: avoidance of diminishing manufacturing supply, identification of alternatives, and mission assurance. An article on Supply Chain Risk Management is in the Enterprise Engineering section of the Systems Engineering Guide. (To learn more about mission assurance, read the article Cyber Mission Assurance within the Enterprise Engineering section of the Guide.)

Minimizing Unique Support Requirements: Ensure all the equipment (mobile or fixed, hardware or software) required to support the operation and maintenance of a system is identified and provided. This includes ground handling and maintenance equipment, tools, metrology and calibration equipment, manual and automatic test equipment, modeling and simulation used for testing, and any software debugging/monitoring applications necessary for software maintenance or modification. Acquisition programs should look to decrease the proliferation of unique support equipment into the inventory by minimizing the development of new support equipment and giving more attention to the use of existing government or commercial equipment.

The Benefits of Pre-Test Training: A training plan and program should consist of all policy, processes, procedures, techniques, training devices, and equipment used to train all user personnel to acquire, operate, and support a system. This includes individual and crew training; new equipment training; and initial, formal, and on-the-job training. Although the greatest amount of training is accomplished just prior to fielding a system, in most programs a large number of individuals must also be trained during system development to support the system test and evaluation program. This early training also provides a good opportunity to flush out all training issues prior to the production and conduct of formal training.

Design Interface is the relationship of logistics-related design parameters to readiness and support resource requirements. Logistics-related design parameters include:

  • Reliability and maintainability
  • Human factors
  • System safety
  • Survivability and vulnerability
  • Hazardous material management
  • Standardization and interoperability
  • Energy management/efficiency
  • Corrosion
  • Nondestructive inspection
  • Transportability

These logistics-related design parameters are expressed in operational terms rather than as inherent values, and specifically relate to system readiness objectives and support costs. Design interface really boils down to evaluating all facets of an acquisition, from design to support and operational concepts for logistical impacts, to the system itself and the logistics infrastructure.

The Importance of Technical Data: The term "technical data" represents recorded information of a scientific or technical nature, regardless of form or character (such as manuals and drawings). Computer programs and related software are not technical data; documentation of computer programs and related software is. Technical manuals and engineering drawings are the most expensive and probably the most important data acquisitions made in support of a system, because they provide the instructions for its operation and maintenance. Generation and delivery of technical data should be specified early on in the acquisition planning process (within requests for proposals and statements of work, etc.) to ensure consideration and cost. Absence of technical data adversely impacts the operations and maintenance of a system and may result in a sole-source situation for the developer.

More on Technical Data

Since July 2006, a number of important Department of Defense (DoD) developments related to technical data rights have transpired, including:

  1. Issuance of 3 May 06 Secretary of the Air Force Memo "Data Rights and Acquisition Strategy" [3]
  2. Issuance of Jul 06 GAO Report "Weapons Acquisition: DoD Should Strengthen Policies for Assessing Technical Data Needs to Support Weapon Systems" [4]
  3. Passage of Congressional Language in PL 109-364, FY07 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act [5]
  4. Issuance of USD AT&L 19 July 07 Policy Memo "Data Management and Technical Data Rights," [6] which requires program managers to assess long-term technical data requirements for all ACAT I and II programs, regardless of the planned sustainment approach, and reflect that assessment in a data management strategy (DMS)
  5. Data Management and Technical Data Rights wording will be added to the next update of the DoD Instruction 5000.2 [7]
  6. Issuance of DFARS Interim Rule Issued 6 Sep 07 [8]
  7. Issuance of 1 Apr 08 US Army ASA (ALT) policy memorandum "Data Management and Technical Data Rights" [9]

To encourage creative and well –thought out development of data management strategies (DMS) (which may well include access rather than procurement of data), the DoD has chosen not to issue a standard DMS format/template. The cost of actual ownership of the data, including storage, maintenance, and revision, is high and DoD has found it more economical for the provider to manage the data as a service through the life cycle of the system. However, according to Office of the Secretary of Defense staff, at a minimum a DMS should address:

  • Specific data items required to be managed throughout the program's life cycle
  • Design, manufacture, and sustainment of the system
  • Re-compete process for production, sustainment, or upgrade
  • Program's approach to managing data during acquisition and sustainment (i.e., access, delivery, format)
  • Contracting strategy for technical data and intellectual property rights
  • Any requirements/need for a priced option
  • Any unique circumstances

See also the Interactive Electronic Technical Data (IETM) site [10] and the DAU Data Management (DM) Community of Practice (CoP) [11] for further information.

References & Resources

  1. U.S. Department of Defense, 2005, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.
  2. "Computer Resources Support," Acquisition Community Connection, viewed February 4, 2010.
  3. May 3, 2006 Secretary of the Air Force Memo, "Data Rights and Acquisition Strategy."
  4. Jul 2006 GAO Report, "Weapons Acquisition: DOD Should Strengthen Policies for Assessing Technical Data Needs to Support Weapon Systems."
  5. PL 109-364, FY07 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act
  6. USD AT&L July 19, 2007 Policy Memo, "Data Management and Technical Rights."
  7. DoD Instruction 5000.2
  8. DFARS Interim Rule Issued Sept. 6, 2007.
  9. April 1, 2008 US Army ASA (ALT) policy memorandum, "Data Management and Technical Data Rights."

Additional References & Resources

  1. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, Logistics and Materiel Readiness, viewed February 4, 2010.
  2. Defense Acquisition University, viewed February 4, 2010.


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