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Managing the munitions stockpile.

The Ammunition Surveillance Information System Munitions History Program (ASIS MHP) is an Internet-accessible data system developed to determine the status of the munitions stockpile maintained by the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition (SMCA). Once fully fielded, ASIS MHP will capture inspection, test, and Remote Readiness Asset Prognostic/Diagnostic System (RRAPDS) environmental sensor data. (RRAPDS is an integrated system that monitors the environmental conditions of munitions in storage [shock, temperature, and humidity] and gives local and remote users an accurate, near-real-time "health status" during the munitions' life cycle.) Data will be provided by inspection personnel around the world at both wholesale and retail levels, including those deployed to locations such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kuwait. These data will be used to determine if munitions are mission capable and suitable for issue to the soldier.

System Development

ASIS MHP is a joint endeavor. Computer applications are being developed at the Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) and by the Automated Test Systems (ATS) Team at the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC). Program management and financial support are provided by AMCOM, the Defense Ammunition Center, the Operations Support Command (OSC), and TACOM-ARDEC's Logistics Research and Development Activity at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

Fielding and testing of ASIS MHP is planned during 2003 and is scheduled for Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky; Crane Army Ammunition Activity in Indiana; Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania; McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma; and Picatinny Arsenal. Conventional and missile munitions operations that support pre-positioned ships also will be included in the testing and fielding.

Global Visibility

The objective of ASIS MHP is to increase strategic decisionmaking capabilities by providing global visibility of the mission-capable status and condition of munitions across all levels of command. ASIS MHP also will integrate data on worldwide munitions inspections, environmental exposure of munitions, and Ammunition Stockpile Reliability Program test results, which will enhance analysis at engineering centers. Global visibility of the munitions conditions provided by ASIS MHP, along with its automated data input capability, will increase efficiency and accuracy at the operations level. Together, these functions will ensure that only serviceable munitions go to the front lines, thus keeping soldiers supplied and the logistics footprint minimized.

The current system for reporting unacceptable munitions conditions that result from peacekeeping or antiterrorism actions is inefficient. The unique ability of ASIS MHP to operate in a disconnected environment will provide an innovative solution to this problem. Using Oracle's 9i Lite "Web-to-Go" software, ASIS MHP personnel supporting deployment operations will be able to capture information on the condition of munitions at the actual operation site and report that information quickly and efficiently via the Interact. When Internet access is unavailable, the operation will be considered "remote," and personnel will continue to collect data on a laptop-based system operating in an offline mode. The next time an Interact connection is made, data stored on the laptop will be uploaded automatically to the central ASIS MHP server, and the server and laptop will synchronize the information. This capability will support all types of remote operations, from combat actions in a hostile area such as Afghanistan to shipments from an "igloo" in the middle of a depot in the United States.

Benefits

The increased operational efficiency created by onsite data input will eliminate redundant inspections and reduce the quantity of munitions of uncertain or questionable serviceability. Delays in inputting and updating data will be eliminated, data errors will be reduced, and data integrity will be enhanced. The improved surveillance data provided also will reduce delays in selecting munitions for shipment, thereby accelerating the clearance and shipment processes at wholesale and retail levels.

An operator looking at an item will be able to input his observations immediately using ASIS MHP, eliminating errors introduced when there is a lapse between the time the observation is made and the time it is input. Also, because the operator making the observation actually does the input, errors caused when someone keys in another's notes, misinterprets values on poor-quality carbons, or misunderstands fine shades of meaning are eliminated. Indeed, the benefits of data input at the source cannot be overstated. Unlike traditional Web-based systems that restrict the operator to an office environment or require cellular or satellite connections, ASIS MHP will allow inspectors to record observations for uploading into accountable systems, even when operating at remote or deployed locations.

With ASIS MHP, munitions mission-capable decisions made at the point of operation will be visible quickly at the command level, which will assist in tactical decisionmaking. Similarly, the data will be available at engineering centers, which will greatly enhance the centers' analysis capabilities.

ASIS MHP also will collect and report environmental exposure history such as shock, temperature, and humidity for selected munitions. In effect, personnel at tactical or engineering decisionmaking sites will be able to see what the operator at the munitions site sees and rely on his information to provide a comprehensive view of the munitions' current state and environmental exposures. With this information, personnel at all levels can assess the serviceability of the munitions more accurately. Then essential decisions can be made about whether or not the munitions are mission capable and which munitions are best for a particular mission. For example, an item that has experienced harsher exposures but is still fully serviceable could be selected for use ahead of pristine stocks from a more favorable environment.

Integrated Information Systems Role

In addition to providing access to data through the Internet, ASIS MHP will feed data to enterprise information systems such as the Standard Army Ammunition System-Modernization and the Standard Depot System. ASIS MHP also will provide data to emerging systems such as the Global Combat Support System-Army and the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP). In fact, the executive agent for the LMP reviewed and categorized the existing munitions information systems to determine which systems would continue to exist after LMP was implemented. ASIS MHP was designated as a "code six bridge and unique," which means that ASIS MHP will be included as part of the LMP core release that will provide surveillance data to the LMP.

With its worldwide data view, ASIS MHP will be an invaluable tool for effectively monitoring and managing the global SMCA munitions stockpile and for making tactical readiness decisions that efficiently allocate the best munitions for the soldier and the mission at hand.

Mitch Hillard is a quality assurance specialist (ammunition surveillance) (QASAS) at the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center's Logistics Research and Development Activity at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. He is a member of the QASAS Surveillance Modernization technology team that is developing ASIS MHP and RRAPDS. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Virginia.
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Author:Hillard, Mitch
Publication:Army Logistician
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Words:1123
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