The 80 percent directive: How will combat aircraft get to Mattis’ readiness goal?

Given the current status of our combat aircraft, the recent directive by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that all the Air Force, Navy and Marines achieve a mission capability rate of above 80 percent by Oct. 15, 2019, for their four key tactical aircraft — including the F-16, F-18, F-22, and F-35 fighters — would appear to be both an impossible goal and, more importantly, an empty gesture that will not change much.

For example, currently the overall mission capable rate of the F/A-18 is 53 percent, the F-22 is 49 percent, the F-35 is 55 percent and the F-16 about 68 percent.

This article was originally published in Military Times.