Air Force tracks warfighters' knowledge

Because warfighting is one of the most rapidly changing learning environments in the military, keeping track of who knows what can mean the difference between life and death.

That's why the Air Force Information Warfare Center (AFIWC) started using a learning management system from Plateau Systems Ltd. to map and account for all its personnel's knowledge.

The AFIWC announced this month that it has selected the Pleateau 4 Learning Management System (LMS) to address the knowledge requirements of modern warfare through an initiative that goes beyond the scope of traditional e-learning, said Paul Sparta, chairman and chief executive officer of Plateau.

The goal of this "knowledge readiness" initiative is to use Plateau LMS to capture all pieces of individual knowledge an AFIWC commander needs to immediately respond to changes in mission requirements and deploy the proper forces.

The AFIWC, which is part of the service's Air Intelligence Agency, provides intelligence and Air Force information to operations worldwide and has to rapidly create needs assessments and respond to crises and battle scenarios.

The center's commander, Col. Arthur Wachdorf, said AFIWC personnel "are the single Air Force focal point for information warfare...[and] the diverse nature of information warfare requires that our personnel train extensively to stay on the cutting edge of information technology and employment."

The Plateau LMS is designed is to consolidate training and other mission-critical information into a single knowledge repository, Sparta said. The system will manage data on all personnel, ranging from training histories to foreign language skills to special work experience — anything a commander requires to immediately assess the readiness of an individual for a specific mission.

The system also will schedule, manage and deliver a variety of training and educational material for AFIWC personnel.

"What this specifically will allow them to do is to map out and account for all of the knowledge — the learning content and on-the-job — that people have and need" and let others know when they need it, Sparta said.

He said that with its ability to provide relevant data to the right people when they need it, Plateau LMS provides a "holistic picture of knowledge readiness" that goes beyond traditional e-learning systems that offer online delivery of information

Plateau 4 LMS is built on open, Java 2 Enterprise Edition/Enterprise JavaBean architecture and integrates seamlessly with other enterprise applications. The company will be releasing Version 4.1 next month, and the AFIWC will be upgraded at that time, Sparta said. The Air Force deal with Plateau is worth well into the "six figures," he said, declining to give specific figures.

In addition to the AFIWC, the Air Force Air Education and Training Command uses the system to manage learning for more than 100,000 students annually. The Arlington, Va.-based company also is creating the service's first "Advanced Distributed Learning" initiative, which makes the Air Force Plateau's largest federal customer.

The Energy Department is also a Plateau customer, and the company is hoping to be named a prime contractor for a large civilian agency award within the next 30 days, Sparta said.

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