The Fort Bragg brigade commander ordered all his troops deployed to Iraq outfitted with this PIC (personal information carrier). Rapp and his team provided each soldier with individual digitized medical records stored on a hardware-independent, secure digital flash memory card with up to 128 megabytes of memory. "There is such a large capacity in this. A soldier's 20-year medical record takes up only 4.2 [megabytes] to 5.2 megabytes," says Rapp. Brigade medics were provided with handhelds to read and write to the memory card.
In the future, Rapp wants to adjust the technology to better fit the medic's field needs. He believes TATRC is two to three years out from achieving additional technical milestones such as the use of voice recognition to pick up the medic's oral notes. Natural language processing would structure the medic's text and send it to a database with a wireless connection.
Removing the chain's weakest link
Military demands, like business demands, change on the fly. One weak link in the logistics chain can take down a whole operation. That's why it is important to implement technology that can quickly identify potential readiness problems.
During the Iraq conflict, the U.S. Army Reserves Support Command (RSC) deployed CMM (Cognos Metrics Manager) to monitor, analyze, and report up-to-date status and effectiveness of military personnel, equipment, and operations. Built on a business intelligence model, CMM is a suite of products designed to track and understand performance and business processes.
The Army RSC incorporated CMM’s logistics to oversee everything from the distribution of ammunition, operation of electric power and telecommunications infrastructure, and even rail repair, says Terence Atkinson, director of Public Sector Marketing at Ottawa, Ontario-based Cognos.
CMM's asset management capabilities allow the department to oversee inventory -- such as tanks, personnel carriers, trucks, jeeps, and Humvees -- and assess each item’s serviceability. CMM is also being used by the U.S. Navy to determine readiness for the fleet’s 4000-plus aircraft. In the commercial realm, CMM might be used to track the readiness of a fleet of vehicles -- airlines, trucking, shipping, and car rental -- or personnel readiness and training, Atkinson says.
-- Brian Fonseca contributed to this article.
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