A detailed look at a single operational community—the C-130 fleet—provides insight into the way parts shortages, personnel issues, aging assets, and high operational tempo compound the Coast Guard’s readiness problems.
Dave Thomas, the fellow who founded the Wendy's hamburger chain, wrote a book about his meandering path to success. In that book, he briefly explained his approach to measuring the health of his company. As you might imagine, Mr. Thomas did not spend a lot of time poring over spreadsheets. He identified a very small set of numbers that gave him a good sense of what was going on, and he checked those numbers briefly every day. Then he spent the bulk of his energy out on the floor with his customers and employees, exercising the kind of hands-on leadership needed to keep the numbers heading in the direction he wanted. These few numbers tracked carefully—combined with a lot of personal involvement—were all he needed to have a clear grasp of where he stood.