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Compact case
Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1994

Abstract

In the mid-1970s, criticism arose of the combat readiness of the US Air Force. Notwithstanding the number of fighter jets in its arsenal, it was said to be a `hollow'' force-hollow because, at any given time, many planes were not mechanically ready to fly. This case tells the story of the Air Force response to this crisis. Much more broadly, however, it raises a question of crucial concern to a wide variety of organizations: What is the best way to organize the maintenance of one''s capital stock? In this case, the Air Force experiments with a variety of configurations- most notably one in which there is a free-standing maintenance division, and another in which maintenance personnel are spread throughout combat units. The B case tells the story of steps which lead to significant maintenance improvements and raises questions as to which steps are most important and relevant to other organizations.

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Abstract

In the mid-1970s, criticism arose of the combat readiness of the US Air Force. Notwithstanding the number of fighter jets in its arsenal, it was said to be a `hollow'' force-hollow because, at any given time, many planes were not mechanically ready to fly. This case tells the story of the Air Force response to this crisis. Much more broadly, however, it raises a question of crucial concern to a wide variety of organizations: What is the best way to organize the maintenance of one''s capital stock? In this case, the Air Force experiments with a variety of configurations- most notably one in which there is a free-standing maintenance division, and another in which maintenance personnel are spread throughout combat units. The B case tells the story of steps which lead to significant maintenance improvements and raises questions as to which steps are most important and relevant to other organizations.

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