The information presented in Army Logistician's ALOG Systems is compiled, coordinated, and produced by the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) Information Systems Directorate (ISD). Readers may direct questions, comments, or information requests to Lieutenant Colonel Thet-Shay Nyunt by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (804) 734-1207 or DSN 687-1207.
What would you get if you merged and linked data from different Army personnel, property book, and unit maintenance systems? You would get a system that gives commanders and managers access to vital information they need to keep units combat ready. You also would get the Army's first unit-level prototype for the integrated combat service support system (ICS3) under development by the Information Systems Directorate of the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and the Project Manager for Integrated Logistics Systems.
This prototype was developed to demonstrate the utility and benefits of vertically and horizontally integrating disparate and dispersed unit-level standard Army management information systems (STAMIS) data using a state-of-the-art data base and graphic user interface tools. The unit-level prototype (ULP) was successfully demonstrated last March using data, soldiers, and equipment assigned to the 49th Special Troops Battalion, Fort Lee, Virginia. The system programming and hardware configuration were developed by Advanced Communications Systems (ACS) of Fairfax, Virginia, under contract with the Army Research Laboratory. The prototype allows CASCOM combat developers to gather insights for documenting the functional requirements of the objective ICS3 program.
The prototype demonstrated the goals set forth in the statement of work given to ACS. The prototype extracted data from the unit-level logistics system-ground (ULLS-G), ULLS-S4, and the standard installation/division personnel system (SIDPERS) using a local area network or dial-up networking. The extracted data then were integrated into a standardized relational data base on a battalion-level server that users could query. Users were provided Windows-based interfaces to view preformatted reports and set ICS3 ULP configuration parameters.
The system also demonstrated that ICS3 ULP data bases could be accessed from various computer workstations using local area network or dial-up networking. The initial statement of work required the prototype system to operate on a free-standing network of four ICS3 workstations connected to a server. The contractor ultimately delivered a more robust prototype which was installed in the 49th Special Troops Battalion and its three subordinate elements (555th Military Police, 54th Quartermaster [Mortuary Affairs], and 16th Field Services Companies and the provisional Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment). The ICS3 ULP ultimately included over 16 individual workstations connected by a garrison local area network and commercial telephone service. The combat service support control system (CSSCS) also was included in the demonstration to show how much easier logistics updates of CSSCS could be accomplished by using state-of-the-art source data systems. At the conclusion of the contract period, the ICS3 ULP will remain in use by the 49th Special Troops Battalion, which will continue to observe and document improvements in operational efficiency and time savings.
The ICS3 ULP closely conforms to the Army technical architecture. It incorporates a 32-bit architecture; uses commercial, off-the-shelf software; and is compatible with a host of data transfer communication protocols. The ICS3 ULP specifically uses Windows NT 3.51 for the server, Windows 95 for ICS3 user workstations, and an Oracle 22.214.171.124 data base. The graphic user interface was developed using PowerBuilder 5.0. Windows 95 was selected by the Government over Windows NT Workstation because of its cost. It was loaded on the six ULLS-G and ULLS-S4 devices in the 49th Special Troops Battalion to support scheduled and transparent extraction of designated "shared" ULLS data directories.
This prototype demonstrated the potential of horizontally and vertically integrated logistics STAMIS data. The ICS3 ULP performed beyond the expectations of staff and noncommissioned officers, as well as soldiers in motor pools and supply rooms. They were able to use the system immediately and its benefits were realized quickly. With the ICS3 ULP-
Sections can view SIDPERS data to support their operations.
Leaders can independently review company- or battalion-wide STAMIS activity and logistics status reports (view reports at their convenience without staff action).
Staff officers can monitor supply room and motor pool performance indicators from their desks.
Motor pool personnel have horizontal visibility of other motor pools' parts lists.
Supply sergeants can use SIDPERS data to correct hand receipts by identifying soldiers scheduled for permanent change of station or those changing positions within the unit. This type of management task is outside the normal bounds of SIDPERS functions but is possible with the increased versatility of SIDPERS data using the ICS3.
Personnel, prescribed load list, and financial tracking reports can be generated with a time savings of 70 to 80 percent.
ICS3 is a combat developments project of CASCOM. Principals are Lieutenant Colonel Loretta Starkey, project leader; Major Paul Mason, ULP coordinator, and Donald Parr, project officer. The ACS coordinator is Mike Fehn. The ICS3 team contributed to this article.
Since the fall of 1985, the standard Army maintenance system levels 1 and 2 (SAMS-1 and SAMS-2) have operated on tactical Army combat service support control system (TACCS) computers. Finally, after some temporary delays, a new SAMS for personal computers (PC's) is being fielded. SAMS-1 and SAMS-2 have been ported to the Windows NT 4.0 operating system. They will have the same menus, program screens, and screen numbers as the old TACCS systems. SAMS is undergoing testing by the Information Software Systems Command, Development Center Lee (DCL) at Fort Lee, Virginia. The NT version of SAMS is scheduled for a user acceptance test (UAT) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in early summer. After the UAT validates the SAMS NT version, it will be fielded by PM-SAMS to replace the TACCS systems versions in the rest of the Army.
The current SAMS on TACCS has both master and remote work stations. The new PC's will have a 166-megahertz (MHz) Pentium chip central processing unit (CPU) at the server, 64 megabytes of random access memory (RAM), 3 1/2- and 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drives, a CD ROM drive, a 28.8-kilobits-per-second internal modem, a 15-inch super video graphics array (SVGA) color monitor, and a high-capacity hard drive. The client work station will have a 100-MHz Pentium CPU notebook computer, 40 megabytes of RAM, hard drive storage, and a 15-inch SVGA color monitor for garrison operations. The only programs that the new SAMS PC's will not have on their menus are TACCS-related utilities and the logistics marking and reading system (LOGMARS) for SAMS-1. It is anticipated that, when funding is approved, the SAMS-1 PC's will have automated information technology equipment that will replace the obsolete LOGMARS used in SAMS-1 for repair part receipt processing and shop stock list inventories. Additionally, the new SAMS PC's will have transmission control/Internet protocols in their operating systems. Future changes to the SAMS PC baselines will incorporate small arms changes mandated by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, supply and equipment master file changes on CD ROM, automation of maintenance support teams, and electronic technical manual interfaces.
SAMS-1 automates direct and general support maintenance in divisional and nondivisional modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE) units and selected table of distribution and allowances (TDA) units. SAMS-2 is the maintenance management system at the next level above SAMS-1. The SAMS-1 system interfaces with SAMS-1, SAMS-2, SAMS-1/TDA, unit level logistics system (ULLS)-ground and -air, and the standard Army retail supply system-1. The SAMS-2 system interfaces with other SAMS-2's, SAMS-1, ULLS, and the combat service support control system (CSSCS). Additionally, it interfaces with the wholesale community through the Logistics Support Activity, Huntsville, Alabama.
The SAMS product manager is Lieutenant Colonel Joe Brito under the management of the Project Manager for Integrated Logistics Systems (PM-ILOGS). PM-SAMS and PM-ILOGS are both located at Fort Lee. This article was contributed by Jack Smith, SAMS maintenance analyst, DCL.
For more late-breaking systems information, visit the CASCOM website (www.CASCOM.army.mil) and look for "Logistics Automation" or "Information Systems Directorate."