Who will manufacture parts for aging military aircraft?

Napoleon once said, “An army marches on its stomach.” As an Iraq War veteran and former Army logistic officer, I believe the modern interpretation is, “An army marches on its supply chain.” This once-underappreciated axiom is now at the forefront in Americans’ minds today, especially for those families in search of a baby formula.

Our nation’s military is facing supply chain issues. The average age of the US Air Force aircraft is 29.1 years old, with eight fleets exceeding an average of 50 years. Each plane has millions of small parts, many of which have not been manufactured in years. As such, the US Department of Defense (DoD) depends upon small manufacturers to keep our equipment operational. This necessity is becoming an insurmountable task.

After concluding my military career, I returned to Oklahoma to open a machine shop to manufacture replacement parts for aging Air Force aircrafts. Given my in-depth knowledge of Defense Department’s supply chain, I was confident that I could both rapidly capture a new opportunity for our business while assisting our military on a pressing need. While I was correct in assessing the need, I was wrong in terms of growing a defense-oriented business.

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