The Army is looking to smartphone-like applications and automated software updates as key capabilities to solve solve lagging modernization efforts for its logistics enterprise, a top official said Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the G-4 deputy chief of staff, told attendees at an Association of the United States Army event the service often lacks visibility into its sustainment operations with new industry solutions required to replace legacy tools for tracking maintenance efforts.
“We’ve raised the need to utilize today’s technology today. This is kind of my buzzword,” Piggee said. “The truth of that matter is, we’re still in catch-up mode in a lot of areas. We’re not there yet, we’re not at ‘today.’”
Piggee cited a recent report that found many of the Army’s maintenance support devices, which are used to diagnose and log equipment repairs, weren’t updated with the latest software, potentially slowing down logistics operations.
“If we have to update our maintenance support device today, we have to send out an old CD-ROM. And if we send out that CD-ROM, we have to hope that we have the right mailing address to the right unit. Assuming we have the right address, it has to get to the right clerk. And if it makes it that far, we hope that clerk has the authority to shut down the system in order to update the software,” Piggee said. “Even if all things work perfectly, I have no visibility into what system has been updated.”
Officials are seeking industry input on moving away from the antiquated process and toward an automated update system similar to the process on smartphones, according to Piggee.
“A critical piece of equipment that we have that performs routine maintenance on our equipment, we have no visibility [into]. That’s not taking advantage of today’s technology today,” Piggee said.
The Army is also exploring an application for soldiers’ phones that would be used to provide “real-time visibility of what’s in and out depots and supply rooms,” according to Piggee.
Piggee compared the tool to an app the Army G-1 recently rolled out for their integrated personnel and pay system that made the system paper-free and included automated updates.
“Think of the improvements to our inventory process and our accountability if we had that capability,” Piggee said.