In general, ILS plans and directs the identification and development of logistics support and system requirements for military systems, with the goal of creating systems that last longer and require less support, thereby reducing costs and increasing return on investments. ILS therefore, addresses these aspects of supportability not only during acquisition, but also throughout the operational life cycle of the system. The impact of ILS is often measured in terms of metrics such as reliability, availability, maintainability and testability (RAMT), and sometimes System Safety (RAMS).
ILS is the integrated planning and action of a number of disciplines in concert with one another to assure system availability. The planning of each element of ILS is ideally developed in coordination with the system engineering effort and with each other. Tradeoffs may be required between elements in order to acquire a system that is: affordable (lowest life cycle cost), operable, supportable, sustainable, transportable, and environmentally sound. In some cases, a deliberate process of Logistics Support Analysis will be used to identify tasks within each logistics support element.
The most widely accepted list of ILS activities include:
Decisions are documented in a life cycle sustainment plan (LCSP), a Supportability Strategy, or (most commonly) an Integrated Logistics Support Plan (ILSP). ILS planning activities coincide with development of the system acquisition strategy, and the program will be tailored accordingly. A properly executed ILS strategy will ensure that the requirements for each of the elements of ILS are properly planned, resourced, and implemented. These actions will enable the system to achieve the operational readiness levels required by the warfighter at the time of fielding and throughout the life cycle.