The U.S. Forest Service has issued a solicitation for a contractor to conduct an “Aviation workload analysis to analyze current and future workload requirements and staffing”. Their goal is to identify a mixture of government and commercial best practices that could be adopted to create a more effective and efficient organization.
The solicitation listed focus areas that have been added or have shown significant growth since a baseline organization chart from 2010:
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems
- Large Airtanker Modernization (Next Gen)
- Large Airtanker Modernization (Aircraft Acquisition)
- C-130H program
- C-23B/SD3/60 program
- Ram-Air parachute system transition
- Emergency Medical Short-Haul
- Water Scooping/Amphibious aircraft
- Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFs) improvement program
- Airtanker Bases and other aviation facilities
- Night Aerial Firefighting
- Aerial Supervision
- Safety Management System
The list fails to mention the introduction and growth of the Very Large Air Tanker program. But perhaps the author was lumping all large and VLATs into one group. There are three DC-10’s under contract and the 747 has received approval from the Interagency Airtanker Board and may show up on the new CWN contract that should be awarded later this year.
Responses are due to the solicitation by March 30 and the contractor will have 150 days to produce the final report. Assuming it will take, generously, two months to make the award, the report will be due around October 27, 2017.
It will be interesting to see the results from this taxpayer-funded enterprise. A “more effective and efficient organization” is a laudable goal.
Historically the Forest Service has been very reluctant to release reports like this. When it becomes available we will add it to the list of 16 other air tanker-related studies that U.S. citizens have paid for since 1995.
Watch this space.