448th Supply Chain Management Wing enters first-ever Academic Partnership with the University of Oklahoma

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  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 448th Supply Chain Management Wing commemorated its first-ever academic partnership Friday Sept. 9 with a signing ceremony held at the Stephenson Research and Technology Center on the University of Oklahoma campus. The project was awarded to the University of Oklahoma on July 29, 2022.

The agreement, established using the 448th’s Other Transaction Authority Consortium, will advance wholesale supply chain risk management analytics by teaming with OU and applying OU’s Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning capabilities. Illuminating supply chains and identifying vulnerabilities proactively gives the Department of Defense and the 448th SCMW unprecedented visibility and therefore, the ability to intercede along timelines to resolve or mitigate a strategic vulnerability.

“Understanding where vulnerabilities are in the supply chain and then knowing in advance is critical, which is why this partnership is so important to us,” said Stephen Gray, 448th SCMW director.  “Being able to take advantage of artificial intelligence machine learning capabilities and matching that up to our vast amounts of data on supply chain risk, we think is a big step in getting to that point of being able to predict.”

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruptions in global supply chains and in the defense industrial base.  In the aftermath, supply chain fragility and lead time associated with reconstituting a supply chain are now better understood.  Supply chains for large aerospace fleets are particularly vulnerable to supplier, sub-supplier and raw material constraints.

“Knowing what’s going into our aircraft, and our machines, our equipment, weapons and things we give our Airmen, our Guardians, our defenders, Marines and our soldiers is a big deal for us,” Gray added. 

Gray, Dr. David Ebert, University of Oklahoma Associate Vice President of Research and Partnerships, Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland (Ret.) now Executive Director, Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute celebrated the project Friday with the signing ceremony. 

Gray believes the OTA will be mutually beneficial for both parties. “This Partnership will provide actionable business intelligence and create opportunities for students, faculty, and Air Force Supply Chain Managers to innovate and grow individual capabilities.  Additionally, the Partnership advances aerospace capabilities in OU and the State of Oklahoma.  We’ve set the conditions for long-term growth for the Air Force, the University, and the State.”

Dr. Ebert expressed that "the Data Institute for Societal Challenges at the University of Oklahoma brings together expertise in data science and data-enabled research focused on solutions for local to global challenges. Working with the 448th SCMW and the Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute, we are excited to develop responsive, adaptive solutions to supply chain risk management and resiliency to ensure the security and superiority of our warfighters."

Gray noted, “We are really good at reacting to disruptions, but we want to be really good at predicting disruptions and proactively mitigating them, that’s where we are going.  We are very excited about this partnership.”

The 448th SCMW delivers supply chain readiness to enable combat power for America and its International Partners. The 448th is the single Air Force Wholesale supply chain wing with $7.2 billion in total requirements and 106,000 items managed at an inventory value of $56.6 billion. The 448th supports more than 40 weapon systems globally across 169 operating locations.

The flexibility of the OTA was made possible using the Supply Chain Consortium Initiative with the System of Systems Consortium.