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There is no single way to identify which vehicles are critical to the execution of a wartime or peacetime mission.
Detailed information about vehicles-how many are needed, who needs them, why they are needed, what shape they are in-is necessary to meet the intent of federal oversight initiatives and ensure the Air Force mission can be carried out successfully. That information is not available as it should be, for several reasons. At the crux of the matter, there is no simple, standard definition for vehicle. There is no single way to identify which vehicles are critical to the execution of a wartime or peacetime mission. Air staff and major commands (MAJCOM) cannot identify the types and quantities of vehicles required to meet the combat operational needs of the Air Force. This has led to proliferation of functional responsibilities; classification, funding, and management systems; and lack of overall visibility of what vehicles are needed, by whom and why.
The idea of changing the way vehicles are classified has been around for several years. Typically, discussions have centered on the registered vehicle fleet (often referred to as the blue fleet) and how the priority buy process does not meet users' needs. But reclassifying vehicles by simply changing names in an attempt to receive increased funding would be fruitless. Rather, classifying vehicles as they relate to mission requirements is a concept that is needed to better support today's Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF).
The EAF is the Air Force vision to organize, train, equip, and sustain itself to provide rapidly responsive, tailored aerospace forces for 21st century military operations. The EAF allows us to better manage the force and determine when that force is stressed and where relief should be focused. At its core, the EAF is about structural and cultural changes to create more effective force management tools. A key objective is to understand where USAF resources are limited and how overcommitting them to meet requirements today can result in less capability to meet essential requirements tomorrow. 
Discussion and Analysis
Fragmented Responsibility, Contradictory Classification Systems
The Air Force owns more than 102,500 vehicles valued at approximately $6.2B and depends on them to meet peacetime and wartime mission requirements. The Air Force Directorate of Transportation, Vehicle and Equipment Division is responsible for policy and guidance to ensure effective administration of the operation, maintenance, and use of Air Force vehicles. The Air Force Directorate of Supply, Combat Support Division implements vehicle acquisition and requirement policies and programs and manages the vehicle procurement program. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC), Support Equipment and Vehicle Management Directorate is responsible for worldwide, integrated, weapon system management (cradle-to-grave) of registered vehicles and registered equipment allowances. Registered vehicles are managed through two separate automated systems: the Air Force Equipment Management System (AFEMS) and the Online Vehicle Interactive Management System (OLVIMS). These systems are used for accounting and daily management of the fleet. However, neither system accurately identifies vehicles needed for wartime missions or differentiates between wartime- and peacetime-use vehicles. The Air Force has several different means of classifying vehicles already in use. However, there does not appear to be any connection among the many agencies doing the classification, the guidelines directing it, or the systems documenting it. Therefore, many of the classification systems actually work against others, creating confusion and misrepresentation of vehicle requirements.
Because of these fragmented and contradictory management and classification systems, the best vehicle management decisions may not always be made, especially in light of the new, expeditionary nature of the Air Force, which requires deploying quickly with the right equipment. Not having an operational classification of vehicles obscures requirements, and mission impact may not be accurately conveyed to decision makers for planning and budgeting.
Figure 1 shows the major factors affecting the numerous ways vehicles are classified. The various individual factors affecting vehicle classification categories and processes do not usually take the other factors into consideration. The agencies most concerned with vehicle classification systems--MAJCOM directors of transportation, WR-ALC Support Equipment and Vehicle Management Directorate, and the Air Force Director of Transportation--have no direct input into individual vehicle classification.
What Is a Vehicle?
Before we can even discuss how vehicles are classified, we must first define vehicle. Various regulations and instructions define vehicles differently. According to 41 Code of Federal Regulations, Motor Vehicle Management, Part 102-18, a vehicle is "Any vehicle, self-propelled or drawn by mechanical power, designed and operated principally for highway transportation of property or passengers."
Department of Defense (DoD) 4500.36-R, Management, Acquisition, and Use of Motor Vehicles, March 1994, differentiates among motor, commercial-design, nontactical, and tactical vehicles. Motor vehicles are designed and operated principally for highway transportation of property or passengers but do not include vehicles designed or used for military field training, combat, or tactical purposes. Commercial-design vehicles are designed to meet civilian requirements and used without major modifications by DoD activities for routine transportation of supplies, personnel, or equipment. Nontactical vehicles are commercially designed motor vehicles or trailers acquired for administrative, direct mission, or operational support of military functions. All DoD sedans, station wagons, carryalls, vans, and buses are considered nontactical. Administrative support vehicles are commercially designed and used for common support of installations and personnel; these include all DoD sedans and most station wagons. Direct mission support vehicles are commercially designed and used by military activities directly supporting combat or tactical units or for training personnel for such activities. Operational support vehicles are commercially designed and used by units conducting combat or tactical operations or for training personnel for such operations. Tactical vehicles are designed to military specification or are a commercially designed motor vehicle modified to military specification to meet direct transportation support of combat or tactical operations or for training of personnel for such operations. The Air Force uses commercially designed vehicles in tactical roles due to the on-pavement environment of their flight lines.
However, Air Force use of commercial vehicles in tactical roles appears to conflict with the definition of nontactical …