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TIME WARP FOR ARMY RESERVISTS -- THE U.S. TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY DEMONSTRATES 'GLOBAL GRID' FOR VIRGINIA MEDICS

 FORT GORDON, Ga., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The doctors, nurses and medics of the 18th Field Hospital, U.S. Army Reserve, here for two weeks of field exercises, will experiment with technology forecast to be available in the coming "information age," and thereby help the Army refine its concepts of how to develop and exploit such technology for its purposes.
 During the "time warp" day of its training, June 28, the 18th Field Hospital -- a cluster of tents and trucks eight miles deep amid the pines and dirt roads of this military reservation -- will supplement its World War II-era hand-cranked telephones and manual switchboards with pocket-size wireless telephones that outmode Radar O'Reilly-like PA sets, and put each of its doctors a button-push away from any other telephone in the world. Advanced long-distance communications will enable a surgical team of the 18th Field to gather at a computer screen to consult with colleagues at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington or the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., over a display of a patient's clinical record, vital signs, X-rays or other medical images, and even live video pictures. Some distance away from the 18th Field Hospital, Army medics will be coping with a "mass casualty event," each aidperson equipped with a personal computer netted to the hospital and mentored by doctors in the Field Hospital able to see the casualty on their computer screen, so that they can coach the medic giving first aid, and help decide whether to move the patient either to a Robotically Enhanced Surgical Team (REST) or to the Field Hospital for further treatment. At the REST, an emergency operation will be underway, under the close supervision of a surgeon in the Field Hospital able to participate in every step of the procedure over communications that not only transmit voice, data and video, but also control robotic instruments.
 An industry team has furnished advance telecommunications and information equipment for the 18th Field Hospital and its medics in the field: InterDigital Communications Corporation (AMEX: IDC) (digital wireless telephones and data services for the hospital), SAIC (advanced tele-mentoring computers and cameras), Foster-Miller (REST) and GDE Systems (advanced information processing and 3-D display technology for tele-consultation). Unique and rapid collaboration within the nation's telecommunications industry coordinated by InterDigital brought together Sprint (an advanced "fiber highway" for long distance connections), Southern Bell of Augusta, CENTEL of Charlottesville, and Bell Atlantic's C&P of Washington (advanced fiber connections to the hospitals). Together, these companies have provided the Army medics a high-capacity DS-3 fiber-optic cable with 1,000 times more capacity than an ordinary residential line. The network has also been equipped with Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches, a prototype circuit foreshadowing those that soon will become industry standard for commercial service, and an integral part of what the Department of Defense terms "Global Grid." During the Cold War, military communications were confined mainly to circuits owned and operated by the Defense Department, but in the years to come the military will rely on a world-wide network of digital radios, cables and satellites, almost wholly commercial, that will be able to carry many thousands of times more traffic than all military and civil uses of the present day.
 In commenting on the U.S. telecommunications industry's response for this exercise, retired Lt. Gen. William J. Hilsman, U.S. Army, former director of Defense Communications, and current chairman of InterDigital, said, "The nation should be proud of the way our industry has pulled together to support this exercise. U.S. Army Field Hospitals currently in Bosnia and Somalia, or similar units wherever they may be sent in the future, will soon have an opportunity to access services like those in the demonstration at Fort Gordon. As our industry looked at this issue over the past few weeks, they marshaled their assets behind the Surgeon General of the Army because they wanted to help him advance combat casualty care, and because they wanted to help find technologies and techniques that might improve health care in hospitals throughout the world."
 In discussing the industry/government teamwork and support, Hilsman said, "Sprint was unbelievable. They were tasked to establish a fiber highway with new ATM-Sonet interfacing capability in one week, which should have been impossible. Working day and night with carriers throughout the nation, Sprint did it. Bell Atlantic C&P had no fiber in the Walter Reed areas and were working with a plan to bring fiber there in three months -- they did it in three days. GDE advanced display technology due to come on line in the fall of '93 was brought on line in two weeks. InterDigital is not only bringing both digital wireless TDMA & B-CDMA systems to the exercise to provide a wireless hospital, but they also took on the mission as overall coordinator of the U.S. telecommunications industry in support of the exercise with only five days' notice to get it all done. CENTEL, Southern Bell, and SAIC worked around the clock as their teams joined the effort. Then came the military communicators, men and women of our Armed Forces who joined with the industry team to bring their communications and information systems assets and expertise to tie it all together. These and 100 other stories will be told as we analyze the results of the exercise and see not only the capability of the U.S. telecommunications industry to respond, but we also see the total dedication of the industry as well."
 One of the architects of the technology demonstration at Fort Gordon, Gen. Paul Gorman of the Institute for Defense Analyses, stated, "The alacrity and adaptiveness of the telecommunications firms in this exercise is a confirmation of the soundness of the decision taken by the Department of Defense to move away from dependence on military communications only towards a greater reliance on commercial standards and services as well. We can see here the beginning of the `Global Grid' and commercial digital wireless services and can draw reassurance from what we see that in the decades ahead, our armed services will continue to have access to world class communications for combat, command and support."
 The "time warp" for the 18th Field Hospital is part of the LOUISIANA MANEUVERS 1993, a series of exercises and demonstrations of advanced warfighting, conducted for the Chief of Staff of the Army by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. The experiments at the 18th Field Hospital in advanced technology for combat casualty care were designed by a team acting for the Surgeon General of the Army, under supervision of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, San Antonio. The concept being explored is that technology might decrease morbidity through earlier expert treatment of trauma, and amplify the effectiveness of physicians in a medical facility overseas by (1) enabling them to protect their professionalism forward into the zone of close combat, and by (2) augmenting their medical skills and experience via tele-consultation with experts at principal tertiary care hospitals, civilian as well as military, in the United States.
 Army Reserve soldiers of the 18th Field Hospital are mostly Virginians, under the command of Col. Gary E. Nelson. One of the 18th's doctors is Lt. Col. (P) Dennis L. Desilvey, of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, who points out that the technologies being demonstrated are directly relevant to the practice of medicine at any large hospital, especially one like that of the University of Virginia, responsible for emergency response and primary care over a wide geographic area.
 As a measure of comparison, the U.S. Army's experience to date with "tele-consultation" has been its video, voice and data transmissions between Walter Reed Army Medical Center and U.S. Army medics deployed in Somalia and Bosnia, over a 64 kilobit satellite channel. The tele- consultations with the 18th Field, over a 44.7 megabit "Global Grid" circuit, could accommodate much richer information exchanges. A graphic example is available upon request.
 /delval/
 -0- 6/21/93
 /CONTACT: Marcia A. Bexley, director of Corporate Communications of InterDigital Communications, 215-278-7831/
 (IDC)


CO: InterDigital Communications Corporation ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:

MJ-CC -- PH009 -- 4051 06/21/93 12:24 EDT
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Date:Jun 21, 1993
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