Army

August 16, 2013

CECOM first responders provide post production software field support

When the software for C4ISR systems needs a lifeline in the field, the Communications-Electronics Command’s, or CECOM, Software Engineering Center, or SEC, provides the technical assistance needed to resolve issues and provide support.

“I would look at us like ‘first responders’,” said Medhat Abuhantash, director of SEC’s Enterprise Services Mission Area. “We are firefighters. We are right there on the ground supporting and providing for the care and feed of those systems. As the issues arise, CECOM SEC field support engineers [or FSEs] are the first people to respond.”

“The SEC provides regionalized post production software support in direct support to the CECOM senior command representative in all the Army field support brigades,” explained Abuhantash. “These systems provide interoperable capabilities for combatant command customers to transmit and communicate information across the C4ISR community in garrison and in the field. SEC provides on-site software installation and upgrades, trouble shooting assistance, and reach-back capabilities to subject matter experts in other areas,” said Abuhantash.

The immediate support is vital to sustaining the operational readiness of C4ISR systems. Abuhantash stressed the necessity of the service CECOM SEC supplies.

“ … we provide the critical link between the systems in the field to the software laboratories in the rear. If it’s a problem that we cannot fix through on-site support, we reach back to our regional assets for troubleshooting and diagnosis. If the issue remains, then it is sent to the software labs for detailed analysis and evaluation in a controlled environment. CECOM SEC provides a tiered support structure of on-site FSEs, regional support, and our software labs to provide soldiers with superior field support service,” Abuhantash said.

Software problems that users generally encounter in the field are very similar to those experienced by the typical user in the workplace. As Charles Cantrell, Field Support Directorate director, explains, “Everything is networked. Issues may arise with the network or between the systems exchanging data. It may not be evident to the operator where to start looking for a fix to the issue encountered.”

Resolving a software problem in the field presents unique challenges. According to Abuhantash, “software has to be diagnosed and treated in the operational environment not physically evacuated to a controlled environment. The identified software problem does not necessarily ‘break’ the system; however, it may temporarily decrease the operational readiness. By not taking the system out of the operational environment, we minimize and reduce unit readiness downtime for the Soldier.”

Cantrell added, “The issue may involve a lack of familiarity with additional capabilities of a system or new applications that were installed or upgraded. One aspect of the ‘first responder’ support that SEC delivers is a reach-back capability to a worldwide team of subject matter expert colleagues. When users have a system issue or question in the field and require assistance, they are able to call or email the expert who is located in a different geographic region.

This is an immediate benefit to the Soldier. Depending on the severity of the problem, the subject matter expert may be able to assist the user to resolve the issue without having to be deployed to the site,” he said. Currently, the capability to solve software problems remotely is very limited due to various security firewalls.

The constrained fiscal environment that the Army is currently operating under has required SEC to re-examine how it provides field support services. Cantrell stressed that looking for efficiencies in providing support to the field will result in a reduction in the SEC field support footprint. He explained that in the past, FSEs were embedded providing support to a specific unit. Today the support is regionalized requiring the FSE to support several units located within a geographical region, reducing overall field support cost.

SEC, in coordination with other CECOM organizations, is developing efficiency initiatives to “right size” the field support. In addition to looking at cross-training, field support engineers to be multi-functional support several systems as opposed to a single system. The Army is also looking at “Back to Basics” in order to better train Soldiers in the operations of their particular systems in order to reduce the number of problems requiring FSE support; which will also reduce cost. To align with CECOM’s initiatives regarding efficiencies, SEC will be reducing the number of personnel providing support while not sacrificing readiness.

“We will be reducing the field support footprint in anticipation of changes in Army support requirements and the new fiscal environment, the new norm,” said Abuhantash.

Cantrell also stated that the focus going forward will be on how to right size the support without impeding or hindering the operational effectiveness of war fighting units and to continue to support contingency operations as they arise.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

IMCOM unveils plan for 2025 and beyond

SAN ANTONIO — The U.S. Army Installation Management Command released “IMCOM 2025 and Beyond,” a new campaign plan operationalizing the commanding general’s vision for the organization. This plan provides a roadmap for IMCOM’s future and serves as a change management document that focuses the command’s collective efforts, prioritizes resources and continues the exchange of informatio...
 
 
Command History Office photos

Military Intelligence – Moment in MI history

European Theater Intelligence School opened in Obermmergau Command History Office photos A German language class in session at the intelligence school Author’s Note: The Command History Office has an extensive historical docu...
 
 
2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts

Predator makes maiden flight on U.S. soil for Arizona Air National Guard

2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts The Arizona Air National Guard Predator sits on the runway awaiting taxi and takeoff for its maiden flight at Libby Army Airfield, Fort Huachuca. The sounds of cheers, applause and an occasional “woohoo...
 

 
Army Broadcasting

Army Production premieres ‘iSoldier’ newscast targeting younger Soldiers

Army Broadcasting Soldiers at Defense Media Activity-Army Broadcasting premiered the new iSoldier newscast, a new multi-media program aimed at younger Soldiers, Nov. 7. The newscast from Army Broadcasting at Fort Meade, Marylan...
 
 

Civilian retirees encouraged to obtain new Civil Service Retiree ID Cards

Those whose Civil Service Retiree ID Card, DA Form 1608, looks like the top and need to make an appointment with the Fort Huachuca DEERS/RAPIDS ID Card Section to receive a new Civil Service Retiree Card which now looks like the bottom: Changes in security procedures require visitors to have an ID card which can...
 
 

Special survey designed to improve Soldiers’ quality of life

Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Installation Services, Soldier and Family Readiness Division. The Army and the RAND Corporation are working together to conduct a Soldier needs assessment survey from September to December at 45 Army installations. Today’s Soldier Survey is available online to randomly selected active duty Soldiers, who will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin