The US Army has introduced major changes to how it conducts maintenance services for its weapons and vehicles.
Under current rules, most of the service’s vehicles undergo maintenance every six months, regardless of whether they need it.
Some military trucks also receive a full service kit consisting of a new air filter, engine oil, and spare parts, even if they were hardly used.
“We may service a vehicle that has gone [only] 100 miles in a year,” US Army warrant officer Robert Lakes said, as quoted by Task & Purpose. “The common sense approach is, I wouldn’t do that to my personal vehicle so why am I wasting resources doing that to our military fleet?”
His sentiment was echoed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy A. George at this year’s Association of the US Army conference. He said the “unnecessary maintenance” is causing the service to waste money and time.
He further pointed out that redundant maintenance services usually cost the army 632 man-years annually.
From Time-Based to Usage-Based
To address the problem, George proposes switching from time-based to usage-based maintenance.
Instead of the regular six-month oil change, for example, a vehicle will receive necessary maintenance depending on how far it traveled.
Apart from about 200,000 vehicles, the maintenance overhaul will also apply to the army’s M4 and M16 rifles.
“By making even modest changes to maintenance intervals for our fleet, we will reallocate 632-man-years of time annually across the Army,” George stated. “632 – that translates to more training time and more family time.”
Once in effect, the changes are expected to reduce the workloads of operators, maintenance, and soldiers who put scheduled maintenance on their calendars.