I have been on the user end of a number of Army and UMSC new information system (IS) rollouts. Some large and some small in scale, but one thing remains a constant – the disconnect between the development phase and the practical implementation of the IS. Most of us refer to the practical implementation phase as the new equipment fielding.
The disconnect is a common, but rarely promulgated bottleneck in the final implementation of new military fieldings. This predicament involves the support that a receiving organization gets from the fielding agency during the fielding and train-up when acquiring new systems. This support also affects how the receiver integrates and operates the new IS once fielding is complete.
Remember, after the sales pitch has been given, the technology conferences attended, the funding acquired, and the contracts awarded – the new technology still has to be delivered to an organization, integrated into its networks and compliance frameworks, and the technical and end-user staff trained.
The Old Paradigm
Typically, when an organization is fielded new tech, it receives new equipment training (NET) from a NET Team in order to fill knowledge gaps. However, this does nothing to address the configuration and installation challenges required to integrate this new technology into the host organization’s network and systems infrastructure. And since no two organizations are the same, this can never be a cookie-cutter experience.
Often, the receiving organizations are given NET and then left to their own devices to figure out how to get the new system to work within their particular environment.
Let’s Ask Some Questions
What if we threw out the old paradigm of the NET Team and replaced it with a new equipment integration team that specializes in working with receiving organizations and developing solutions to integrate new technology and systems into the architectures of receiving organizations?
What if system developers built new technology with the receiving organizations in mind or a manner that it could adapt to several different operational environments?
Conquer the Bottleneck
I believe that the only way to conquer the bottleneck is to give as much consideration and attention to fielding and integration as is given to the sales pitch and acquisition process. The fielding process has to be more than shipping and instructions; it has to include integration and be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
Only then can we put an end to the military’s technology bottleneck.
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