The Importance of Centralized Data in Military Logistics
In a recent interview with GCN, Adam Drake, a 2019 Presidential Innovation Fellow working to modernize Marine Logistics, stated that DATA is the deciding factor in allowing the Marine Corp to act fast in the field. In the interview, Drake says, “The success of almost any enterprise, especially a logistics enterprise, hinges on its ability to ingest, process, disseminate and act on timely data.”
Drake, a 20-year veteran of the private sector, is taking part one, of a growing list of programs, the Marine Corp is developing to modernize and streamline their logistics solutions. As part of the Presidential Innovations Fellows, Drake is helping the USMC’s digital transformation aimed at improving logistics.
Today’s Marine Corp is smarter and leaner. USMC leadership understands that it’s not just about acquiring the data but rather, pushing the necessary data to support the mission.
WHICH DATA DO WE NEED?
The first step in delivering a more mobile logistics system that can address a broad range of needs is to start identifying precisely what data is required and how to get it.
In Marine Corp Logistics, it’s not about understanding where an asset was at a given point in time; it’s about where it is now and when it will be available to the specific Marine who needs it. To accurately understand this, we need different data points:
- A correlation of the latest data detailing the location of the asset
- Relevant historical data for understanding how far along in its journey the asset is
- Current weather conditions and its effect on the journey
- An understanding of the condition of the vehicle that’s carrying the asset
All of the above information is required by many parties across various devices in the safest, cheapest, and easiest way to perform the complex compilations and share it with interested parties. To achieve this, we must centralize the data collection
A centralized data system is preferred from a security standpoint as it reduces the number of interfaces that need to be locked down. From a cost perspective, it’s preferred as it allows the clients to use typical devices (desktops, laptops, handhelds). But, the most significant benefit is the mobility that a centralized data collection and compilation provides the end user.
A centralized data service securely pushes information where it is needed, as it is required. Users can log in and get data updates, but a centralized data service quantifies Data on a global scale and pushes data where it needs to go. Building these data processes allow Marines to get back to their expeditionary roots, now with the benefit and backing of modern technology.
REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS
Marines are always on the move. Sending organized information about packages of interest allows them to make crucial decisions in real-time while on their missions.
For example, imagine a large number of vaccines have been shipped, and during their journey, their temperature rises higher than the required 40-degrees Fahrenheit. This happens ten days before they’re set to arrive at their final destination.
Under past systems, the Marine commander set to receive those vaccines would not know these vaccines have been comprised until they were in his hands, placing the entire mission weeks behind schedule.
Now, imagine a Bluetooth-enabled sensor placed on the shipment before it’s left the point of embarkation. During the journey, the refrigeration system would fail, and the sensor would record the rising temperature.
Upon arriving at a port of debarkation, the data would be uploaded automatically when the MAGTF Common Handheld (MCH) was connected to the network. The MCH would register a connection with the sensor, feed it’s status and location back to the centralized data service without requiring the Marine to even take it out of their pocket.
The centralized data service would already understand that the asset needs to be shipped at a constant temperature under 40-degrees and would trigger an alert to the Marine Commander at its ultimate destination. The commander can then take the necessary precautions and plan for the compromised vaccines, saving the mission at hand. In terms of time, money, and wasted resources, the ROI on centralizing data speaks for itself.
This is just one of the Use Cases that Tactical Edge is investigating on behalf of the Marine Corps. Through the work we have done with our Small Business Innovative Research award, we can leverage data from today’s Legacy systems, update it based on environmental sensors, and provide actionable intelligence to Marines where they need it.
To learn more about our Government-owned SBIR solution, and other capabilities Tactical Edge provides the government and our industry partners, please contact us below or download our capabilities brief here.
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