A major factor in the high readiness rate of MRAP vehicles has been the use of contractor logistics support (CLS) during initial fielding. In the summer of 2007, as MRAP vehicle requirements expanded dramatically, the JPO shifted to a hybrid/organic approach, with eventual plans for fully organic sustainment. CLS, however, remained critical. Prior to the transition to organic support at the unit level, the ratio of FSRs to vehicles was one to ten. The JPO attained this ratio by pooling the efforts of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and organizing cross-training among the FSRs from each manufacturer. As an example of the commitment of one manufacturer to the program, FPII went from 105 FSRs to 300 in just a matter of months (Walsh, 2008a, August 6).
The short ramp-up to MRAP fielding did not afford the program time to fully test the vehicles for maintainability, nor did the JPO initially develop a maintenance plan beyond CLS. Given the commercial item designation, the JPO originally determined that manufacturers would maintain their own products; this created the need for FSRs.
As of this writing, unit organic maintenance personnel perform 10-level (crew- level) and some 20-level (organization-level) MRAP vehicle maintenance, while FSRs perform 20- and higher-level maintenance. In most cases, FSRs supervise the 10-level maintenance and ensure it is being properly performed. Additionally, to keep up with the latest technology, organic maintenance personnel do perform minor modification work orders within their capabilities. This prevents the necessity of running combat patrols to the regional support activities (RSAs) for purely maintenance purposes. For example, modifications such as 360 degree light kits and integration of other GFE have been completed by unit maintenance personnel in theater (Hansen, 2008, June 10).
For the maintenance policy at the unit level including preventive maintenance procedures, FSRs and unit maintenance officers of each unit are responsible for updating and making recommended changes. This is attributable to the limited endurance and reliability testing prior to vehicle procurement, which did not allow determination of MTBF, MTTR, or other data necessary in developing maintenance procedures. The