Air Force consolidates readiness information
- By George I. Seffers
- Jul 17, 2000
An Air Force lab has developed an application that, through a combination
of smart cards and database integration technology, could provide commanders
with up-to-the-minute information on personnel readiness.
The Deployment Personnel Accountability and Readiness Tool (DPART),
developed by the Air Force Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab in Mountain
Home, Idaho, would use commercially available technologies to tie together
multiple applications that process personnel, medical, dental and training
information on individual service members.
The plan is to locate such information in a central database that commanders
could access via the Air Force intranet to learn whether individual service
members are ready to be deployed. The program, according to Air Force sources,
will allow a commander to quickly check the readiness status of 4,000 people,
rather than having to piece together information from multiple systems.
"The objective is to improve the readiness and the responsiveness of
all air expeditionary forces [by] taking the readiness screening from a
reactive effort and making it proactive," said Capt. Nicole Slominski, a
logistics plans officer at the battlelab, which is chartered with identifying
tools that can help deploy or support groups going into combat. "All of
those different areas [personnel, medical, dental and training] have their
own computer systems. We had a program built that hooks into those systems
and links them into one central database that we can get into through the
The personnel information will be written onto the Common Access Cards
that the Pentagon plans to begin issuing in January. The digital identification
cards will be equipped with public-key infrastructure to bolster security.
The Air Force aims to obtain the cards from the General Services Administration,
which chose five companies in May to supply an estimated $1.5 billion worth
of smart cards and services to government agencies.
The five prime contractors on the governmentwide Smart Access Common
Identification contract will produce microchip-equipped cards capable of
supporting multiple applications, such as personal identification and access
to buildings and computers.
"We would like to get this capability through the Common Access Card
when that comes up," said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Stump, a manager at the
Having deployment readiness information on the card will provide many
advantages, Stump said, including creating a backup system in case the information
cannot be accessed via a local-area network. Deployed commanders could also
use the cards to update information in the database as service members rotate.
In addition, the data could be instantly updated each time a service
member's status changes, such as after he or she receives a flu shot. The
whereabouts of service members could also be tracked.
"This gives us a capability we didn't have before," Stump said. "Now,
we can track a person and determine their readiness at a glance for 594
different data items. In an air expeditionary force, people might be deployed
from five different bases. This will allow the deployed commander to build
up that database on the fly from the cards and to watch the readiness as
people come and go."
"We can track an individual [to] where they are last checked in, whether
they're in a meeting, in a class, or deployed in Zimbabwe," Stump added.
"You can watch your people and know when Johnny's coming home."
In August, officials from the Air Force Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab
will recommend to the Air Force Joint Requirements Oversight Council that
the DPART program be adopted servicewide. Although the technology was developed
at an Air Force battlelab, both the Army and Navy have shown interest in
using the system.
The program is undergoing a business case analysis to ensure that it
will be affordable. The battlelab has spent about $800,000 on the 18-month
effort to evaluate the technology at the Idaho battlelab and at Hurlburt