|The information presented in Army Logistician's Systems is compiled, coordinated, and produced by the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) Information Systems Directorate (ISD). Readers may direct questions, comments, or information requests to Lieutenant Colonel Thet-Shay Nyunt by e-mail at email@example.com or phone (804) 734-1207 or DSN 687-1207.|
MOVEMENT TRACKING SYSTEM PROTOTYPES SUCCEED IN REAL-WORLD MISSIONS
The shrugging of shoulders that sometimes accompanies the question, "Where's the truck?" has been replaced, in test units, by computer screens that plot truck locations on a digital map and allow movement controllers to redirect shipments. A truck driver doesn't have to ask "where am I?" In his cab, he plots his location on his laptop, which also allows him to communicate with movement control using the Movement Tracking System (MTS).
MTS is an adaptation of a commercial technology that will make make its transition into military operations with only minor technical modification. Coupled with emerging transportation and supply management systems, MTS will give managers near-real-time, in-transit visibility of vehicles and their cargoes.
MTS is not just for special cargoes. Beginning in the third quarter of 2000, this capability will be a regular part of how the Army manages transportation and its loads. The Army plans to announce the award of a $400-million contract to track its fleet of trucks globally using MTS. System prototypes have proven themselves already in exercises in Korea, at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and in III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. In Europe, various versions of the MTS are on over 1,000 vehicles, providing information as they move from points of debarkation in Germany to their final destinations in Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Forge.
The need for MTS is based on evolution of warfighting doctrine that calls for increased maneuverability and enlargement of the battle area. These changes require situational awareness not only for combat leaders but also for those in support. The fielding of this new family of information technology devices will give users the ability to pinpoint the location of common-user logistics transports and transport watercraft, track their progress, and electronically communicate with them.
The expansion of the Force XXI corps battlespace (240 percent larger than the Army of Excellence) represents a dramatic increase in operating area and presents numerous challenges that outstrip the ability of current tactical communications. Overlaying the corps battlespace on American geography illustrates the challenge. Corps-level transporters will be responsible for delivering supplies and equipment in an area that would stretch from Baltimore, Maryland, to Roanoke, Virginia. Given this distance and the average speed of tactical vehicles on secondary roads, transit time could be as long as 23 hours. If we view Operation Desert Storm as an indicator of the velocity of war, we can see that a lot can happen in 23 hours. Trucks and their loads must be able to react on the move to support the developing battle. In addition to the expansion of the operating area, transporters also must contend with the reality of the asymmetrical, nonlinear battlefield, in which combat is encountered over the entire battlespace and not confined to the forward edge. To support operations in such an environment, a system is needed to provide continuous command and control for the transportation assets that provide support to warfighters and to coordinate force protection.
As its mission statement reads, MTS will support missions through the full spectrum of military operations from peacetime to war. It will provide commanders and managers with near-real-time data on the location and status of movements. The system will improve effectiveness and efficiency of limited distribution nodes, provide the ability to reroute supplies to higher priority needs, and inform operators of hazards and changes to unit locations.
MTS relies on satellite communications rather than cellular or tactical radios because of its large geographic operating area. Satellites serve two purposes. They provide location data using a global positioning system (GPS). Control stations and mobile units use a GPS and digitized maps to show users the precise location of assets, hazards, and directions. Satellites also permit MTS operators at control stations and mobile units to exchange messages.
MTS consists of ruggedized laptop computers, subscriber controller hardware and antennas for communications, and a GPS. Satellite communications provided by commercial vendors must provide specific area coverage and data quality and meet response specifications.
Although MTS currently is a stand-alone system, interfaces are planned for the Transportation Coordinators Automated Information for Movements System II (TC AIMS II) and the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army). MTS, coupled with radio frequency tags, will allow GCSS-Army and TC AIMS II to provide the virtual status of shipments, including manifests and document numbers. On the battlefield, this MTS/GCSS-Army/TC AIMS II information system will permit pinpoint distribution and redirection of materiel. At the strategic level, managers operating the Global Transportation Network, the Joint Total Asset Visibility system, and the Logistics Intelligence Data Base using data from GCSS-Army and TC AIMS II would be able to manage and direct resources down to the shipment level.
MTS prototypes operating in various environments and operations have demonstrated that a mature commercial technology can be adapted to military application. The challenge now is to train operators and managers and to employ the system on a global basis.
For more information, contact Jon Quinn, CASCOM MTS project officer, at (804) 734-2672 (DSN 687-2672), or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOGISTICS COMPUTER SUPPORT TRAINING OFFERED
Logistics computer support training is being offered at the Army National Guard Professional Education Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Combat Service Support Automation Management Office (CSSAMO) Course, as its name implies, is for personnel assigned to CSSAMO's in modification table of organization and equipment units or table of distribution and allowances-equivalent organizations.
The course provides systems maintainers hands-on training in the fundamentals of hardware and software troubleshooting, data recovery, and reloading of system software. It covers the legacy Standard Army Management Information Systems: Standard Property Book System-Redesign; Unit Level Logistics System (ULLS); ULLS-Ground, -Aviation, and -S4; Standard Army Retail Supply System (SARRS)-1; and Standard Army Maintenance System (SAMS). Core training includes an overview of all the systems, their operating environments (Windows and DOS), local area networks, and system communications in both tactical and garrison settings. SARSS training includes UNIX and Solaris web server instruction. Following the core training are 56 hours of system-specific troubleshooting instruction.
This course is being conducted by Logistics Management Resources (LMR), Inc., of Prince George, Virginia. Development of the course was a cooperative effort among the Army Combined Arms Support Command, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Army Forces Command, and U.S. Army, Pacific. LMR conducted similar training last year for U.S. Army, Europe.
Personnel in the logistics information support field who wish to take this course should contact the logistics headquarters on their installation to schedule training. Army Reserve personnel should contact the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics in their regional support commands, and Army National Guard personnel should contact the director of logistics at their respective state area commands.
AMC TO OUTSOURCE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
The Army Materiel Command (AMC) will contract operation and maintenance of two of its major wholesale information management systems under a program known as the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program (WLMP), or LOGMOD. Affected are the Commodity Command Standard System (CCSS) and the Standard Depot System (SDS). CCSS performs wholesale asset management, requirements determination, financial management, and life cycle support functions at the national level. SDS automates depot functions such as depot maintenance, ammunition management, transportation, and internal depot support. A request for proposals was released in April 1999, and a source selection board convened from late June through August 1999. Board results and an award of contract are expected by the second quarter of fiscal year 2000. AMC's Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) is the executive agent for LOGMOD. For more information, contact the CASCOM LOGMOD action officer, Greg Kropp, at (804) 734-0288, or send e-mail to email@example.com.