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Simodejka award winner tackles aviation readiness rates through data integrity

Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD - August 5, 2019 - Data integrity— internal consistency or lack of corruption—is foundational to naval aviation readiness. That’s according to Jeff Blackstock, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Aviation Readiness and Maintenance Analysis Branch Analytics and Analysis Team lead. Blackstock was named the 2019 Michael G. Simodejka Outstanding Sustainment/Logistics Manager of the Year during an award ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on July 31 for his contributions to naval aviation data integrity.

The Michael G. Simodejka Outstanding Sustainment/Logistics Manager and Team of the Year award honors the legacy of the first civilian director of Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s (NAWCAD) logistics competency and his efforts to establish logistics as a force in the command. It recognizes an individual and a team that substantively contributed to advancing life cycle logistics; applied modern technology and digital tools for sustainment, logistics and/or readiness; and enhanced the logistics profession.

The Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainer Logistics Integrated Product Team was recognized for providing individual, team and multi-team navigation training worldwide, including upgrades to realistic virtual training simulations in support of maintaining peak seamanship proficiency.

Fleet data enables informed decision making at all levels, according to Blackstock. “The majority of the work we do here at NAVAIR is based on the data that is extracted from our maintenance documents,” he explained. “We plan the reliability, maintenance program, cost for parts, and ultimately, the readiness of weapon systems based on what we have in our historical work orders. If the data you are analyzing is not consistent or of good quality, then the results of the analysis can be misleading.”

In support of the Naval Sustainment System Reliability Control Boards, a Navy readiness improvement initiative that prioritizes, resources and aligns work across naval aviation, Blackstock identified and resolved critical issues in an algorithm used by all type/model/series platforms to compile component priority lists. The lists indicate which systems and components most impact readiness and is used to inform stakeholder decision making.

Blackstock also played a key role in transforming how the fleet documents, collects and analyzes its readiness data in the Optimized Organizational Maintenance Activity (an automated management information system that assists organizational-level maintenance with the day-to-day management of assigned aircraft and equipment). The change is expected to yield a 15% improvement in readiness rates.

Blackstock is also credited with developing the Data Integrity Dashboards—a tool that highlights data documentation errors and aids in the training of squadron technicians on proper data entry—and its increased use across the fleet.

Sustainment Group Director and guest speaker, Tom Rudowsky, commended all 10 nominees on their accomplishments. “They exemplify the dedication and passion I see throughout the workforce,” he said.  “Their efforts are taking logistics to the next level, enabling us to work more cohesively to deliver capabilities to the fleet. Today, we are recognizing the work that is critical to understanding how naval aviation operates. It’s the first step to readiness.”

Blackstock, who served as an aviation maintenance administrationman for 22 years in the Navy, said that his time with the fleet to ensure data integrity has given him a clearer understanding of fleet requirements and his responsibilities to them as a team lead.

“Squadron Sailors and Marines do not have the luxury of time when it comes to the mission,” he explained. “I’ve learned that we must field systems that ease their workloads and we must establish processes to correct issues that do not consume their time. I’ve also learned that new systems and requirements must be fully vetted by all stakeholders before they are introduced to the fleet so that issues can be corrected.”

Data integrity, Blackstock said, is ultimately about providing the weapon systems warfighters need to complete the mission and return home safely to their families. “Each of us,” he advised, “must keep in mind why we come to work every day.”

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