Army running University of IT

Pilot project at Fort Gordon trains personnel on equipment they will use at their home installation

The Army is conducting a University of IT pilot project in an attempt to get information technology experts out of the classroom and into the field faster.

The project, which is being run out of the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., is a new business process based on "assignment-oriented training," said William Dates, deputy principal director for enterprise integration in the Army's Office of the Chief Information Officer, speaking May 29 at Army IT Day in McLean, Va.

That concept involves training personnel at Fort Gordon on the equipment they are going to use at their home installation. If the person requires more diverse training later, it can be done through distance learning, said Edmund Kieloch, deputy director for workforce development in the CIO's office.

For example, Kieloch said, if an individual is training to be a computer operator at Installation X, does he or she need to be familiar with all of the Army's systems? If not, the operator will only be trained on necessary systems, and the rest of his or her future training can be done by distance learning, he said.

"It shortens their time in residence...sometimes they only need about half as much time at Fort Gordon," Kieloch told FCW.

Dates said the University of IT project has produced other benefits including:

* It lowers personnel and equipment costs.

* It requires fewer instructors.

* It standardizes training.

* It gets soldiers in units faster.

* It decreases personnel training costs.

Dates said the University of IT program was submitted to the Defense Department's Business Initiatives Council for approval, but was not adopted. The BIC decided that the Army needs more time to study and refine the assignment-oriented training idea, he said.

The BIC was established in June 2001 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to improve DOD's business operations and save money. Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, oversees the council.

Army IT Day was sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Northern Virginia chapter and the Signal Corps Regimental Association's Greater Washington, D.C.-Albert J. Myer chapter.

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