|Lincoln Battle Group Cruises Home with Distance Support |
Lincoln Battle Group Cruises Home with Distance Support
By Richard Osial, NAVSEA Public Affairs, March 9, 2001.
The USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) battle group returned home to Bremerton, Wash., recently with a crew of happy Sailors and a number of success stories about Distance Support.
The LINCOLN battle group was the first deployed battle group to have the Navy's Distance Support software installed for a deployment. Distance Support is the Navy's newest approach to e-business. It gives Sailors a single point of entry to "reach-back" to the shore support commands to diagnose and repair equipment, answer supply questions, solve personnel concerns, and even get spiritual guidance. By using telephone, e-mail, or video teleconferencing, any Sailor can access Distance Support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
During their six-month deployment, Distance Support was used more than 1,600 times between the battle group and shore commands -- 1,300 times in the first three months alone.
Distance Support was extremely important to the battle group during this deployment. Heightened security requirements caused the cancellation of some Arabian Gulf port visits. Without the at-sea capability of Distance Support the diagnoses and repair of a myriad of problems could have been delayed.
Rear Admiral Phil Balisle, LINCOLN Battle Group Commander said, "Through Distance Support, the battle group was able to maintain a high state of readiness which allowed us to meet all taskings while on station in the Gulf."
One example of the innovative use of this emerging program was the group's ability to conduct joint meetings across each command. Every day the seven ships and carrier air wing of the battle group used Distance Support to conduct joint logistics and maintenance meetings. These meetings connected the shore based technical representatives with the shipboard engineers, supply officers, or maintenance chiefs. Wherever they were in the world, the LINCOLN battle group was on line with San Diego's Fleet Technical Support Center (FTSC), the Navy's Integrated Call Center (ICC) in Norfolk, VA, and many of the Naval Sea System Command's nine warfare centers. Using chat rooms, digital pictures and, occasionally, teleconferencing, solutions to logistics and technical issues were found quickly.
The overwhelming result of Distance Support is that it saves both time and money. By reducing the man-hours spent searching for help in a multitude of areas and by reducing the need for on-site visits by shore-based technicians ships underway can remain at a high state of operational readiness.
Captain Douglas Dupouy, Commanding Officer of LINCOLN added, "I would encourage COs to take advantage of the benefits of Distance Support. It is a comprehensive program that has improved readiness, improved maintenance practices, and affected personnel, training, and supply support"