Procurement of aircraft parts without specific knowledge and expertise is a significant risk. Each center that operates aircraft currently handles parts acquisition differently, without a standard set of agency-wide processes or procedures. By consolidating aircraft parts purchases at the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC), we have the ability to standardize the acquisition of quality aircraft parts and services.
However, this is not without its own challenges. While some flying centers will see no impact since they acquire aircraft parts via existing maintenance contracts, other centers possess greater potential issues. Centers no longer have closed-loop systems to ensure that the aircraft parts they are purchasing are the parts that they receive. Non-flying centers may acquire Unmanned Aerial Systems subject to the same risks. If this situation is not addressed properly, we could be increasing risk to our aircraft fleet. Combining the knowledge of aircraft maintenance experts from each center with the NSSC may be the solution to providing parts and supplier assurance.