As with sustainment, the MRAP program is unique in its initial lack of a fielding plan. No real plan existed because the JPO did not initially know the total requirements at the time fielding started. The program objectives, on the other hand, were very simple–field as many survivable vehicles as fast as possible; everything else remained secondary. In the early stages of the program, this meant a fielding timeline of production plus 60 days (Hansen, 2008, June 10). The MRAP fielding process was no different than the regular process any unit would undergo in drawing vehicles. The difference existed in the expedited fielding, characterized by the “truncated,” or shortened, training that operators and maintainers underwent prior to receiving the vehicles.
The fielding process varies between the Services and individual units based on Service-specific standing operating procedures (SOPs) and prior unit experience with MRAPs. Units with more familiarity conduct an expedited fielding process, while others spend up to five days in familiarization training before completing their equipment draw. As an example, Army units typically conduct 5 days of operator and maintenance training and account for all ASL and PLL parts in the presence of a mechanic before receiving the vehicle. Marine Corps units, on the other hand, typically conduct a much less rigid fielding process, preferring to place the vehicles directly into operation (Hansen, 2008, June 10).
This expedited fielding process represents yet another trade-off made by the JPO in support of the program strategy. Whereas a typical new equipment fielding would include an extensive training and familiarization period for operators and maintainers, the urgent need required MRAPs to be placed into immediate operation.
KEY FACTORS AND TRADE-OFFS
This overview of MRAP logistics planning and execution highlights numerous factors that contributed to program success. As previous analysis has shown, many of the trade-offs that enabled rapid MRAP fielding involve risk acceptance in sustainment.