Magazine article National Defense

Global Training Database Is Army's Target

Magazine article National Defense

Global Training Database Is Army's Target

Article excerpt

A three-year study recently completed by the U.S. Army recommends accelerating the use of information technology in soldier training programs.

Begun in 1996, the study is called Army Training 21. lt makes a case that the Armys databases and communications technologies are not adequate to meet the service training needs of the next century.

The essential problem discussed in Army Training 21 is a "lack of information technology to support training," said Col. Robert Reddy, commander of the Army Training Support Center. The center is a subordinate organization to the deputy chief of staff for training at the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

"The issue was trying to understand the relationships between a variety of different things that relate to training-- training- agent devices, creation of a training schedule, managing the proficiency of the unit, creating the mission essential tasks, all those disparate things that commanders go through every day," Reddy explained in an interview. "There aren't many tools out there to help commanders do this."

The most difficult problem, he asserted, was "understanding the relationship between disparate information to determine a way for us to integrate information better and make it easier for commanders to do their jobs."

When Army Training 21 was launched, Reddy said, the goal was to "stand back from the training problem as we understand today [and] we forecast it 10 years from now ... [Another objective was to] look at the infrastructure issues necessary to support training and to factor in the power of information technology to provide an integrated system of systems to support training far more effectively and far more efficiently."

An example of what Army Training 21 envisions would be the use of communications technology to create an electronic library of training and doctrine material that is accessible to anyone worldwide, he said. "Be able to search through very large, complex databases to find the material I need." The Army essentially would offer soldiers access to a network where information is organized according to the user's needs. "It's the advances in information technology that would allow us to do this," Reddy said.

He predicts that, once the Army Training 21 vision becomes reality, the service will save time and money throughout its various training activities. …

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