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Twenty Years Young and Mightier Than Ever – What’s the Secret?

Recently, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III celebrated its 20th year of service. Think about it – 20 years ago, there was no “9/11” or war in Iraq and Afghanistan, earthquake in Haiti or Hurricane Katrina. Yet the C-17 performs as though it was tailored for these and any mission put in the hands of our U.S. Air Force and foreign military partners. This aircraft, and the men and women that operate and maintain it, saves lives.

What makes the C-17 special other than it’s the most advanced airlifter in the world with proven in-service operational utility, performance, versatility and reliability in worldwide operations? It’s the innovative worldwide sustainment package that is included with every C-17, known as the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP), a performance-based logistics (PBL) contract.

Performance-based logistics is a contracting approach that does not “charge” the customer for every spare transaction or request for support. It is a package deal. Boeing is incentivized to deliver on its performance metrics required by the U.S. Air Force – poor performance negatively affects pay incentives. For more than 10 years, we have met or exceeded all performance metrics, reduced operating costs and delivered the highest mission capability rates in U.S. Air Force airlift – all while increasing the fleet size and standing up new operating bases in the United States and internationally. In recent years, PBL has had some nay sayers’ and I will admit – one size does not fit all. The C-17 GISP is an all-inclusive post-delivery support contract with additional Boeing-managed supplier PBLs. Not all PBLs are this large in scope, and yet can be very successful. That is the beauty of it … it allows customers to tailor sustainment agreement to meet warfighter needs. PBLs are at the forefront of revolutionizing the way the world thinks of post-production support.

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Gus Urzua is vice president and program manager of the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP), a division of the Global Services & Support business unit within Boeing Defense, Space & Security. His role focuses on aircraft readiness and after-delivery support through performance based logistics contracts, innovative supply-chain management, industry-leading engineering services, and public/private partnerships.

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