Insight by Infor

Using data, emerging technologies to drive DoD’s readiness

Defense Department officials told Congress earlier this year that timely, adequate, predictable, and sustained funding over the last two years has significantly increased the number of brigade combat teams readiness at the highest levels.

Every military service and agency is better prepared to address threats around the world and in the United States from a people and equipment perspective.

But there is still a long way to go to ensure continued and complete success in getting people, equipment, weapons, food and all the things that makes a military run well in place.

The National Defense Strategy recognized this challenge.

One of the key focus areas is to restore joint readiness.

The challenge is, according to many experts, there is a shortfall of current methods for assessing readiness. This is true especially when it comes to equipment and parts as systems are disparate and old, data sharing is arduous and filled with dirty data, and the skills of the workforce haven’t necessarily kept up with industry best practices.

On top of that, there are ever-growing concerns about supply chains both from a manufacturing perspective and from a cybersecurity risk standpoint.

DoD needs to consume information in real time to make better decisions. It has to figure out how to break out of the current hub and spoke model that logisticians are currently bound by and use new technologies and approaches to deliver products and services in real time.

And finally, technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics process automation can lead to increased readiness in that joint manner the National Defense Strategy called for.

“There has been an acknowledgement over the last number of years particularly on the weapons systems side that we were not meeting the goals and we had too many aircraft and other systems that were down. We also had challenges around personnel readiness,” said Mark Fox, the senior manager for global defense programs at Amazon Web Services. “It starts out as a data problem. You have these systems and almost all of these platforms are massive sensors that are creating a massive amount of data, often times out at the edge with minimal connectivity. You have start with that data, how is it pulled together and shared broadly.”

Current State of Readiness

Most of our vehicles have built in sensors that are tracking oil life or tracking how the vehicle is performing. The next step is the Army, in conjunction with Army Material Command, is working toward developing a condition based maintenance model, using cloud-based computing and taking all this analytical data and staring to predict when those maintenance failures will happen.

Data and the Digital Transformation

[Digital transformation] is setting a foundation for these emerging technologies that will really accelerate capabilities for us. Those include artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics process automation. Those technologies are all pointing toward the same thing. They are all pointing toward automation. To really integrate that into our business processes whether it’s logistics or maintenance, you really have to trust that system, what it’s doing and what kinds of decisions it’s making for you.

Preparation for New Tools

We have to rethink how we train, how we assess physical fitness for a cyber professional that can deliver kinetic effects from a chair? Do they need to be strong enough to drag a person off the battlefield? What are we really testing here? These are the things we are considering as well as recruiting and retention.

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