|Keeping DOD Connected: Software Makes Circuit Tracking Easier |
Keeping DOD Connected: Software Makes Circuit Tracking Easier
By Staff Sgt. Beverly Isik, Standard Systems Group Public Affairs.
Maxwell Air Force Base - Gunter Annex, Ala. (AFPN) 20 March 2000 -- Technical controllers throughout the Department of Defense are getting improved automated tools thanks to a team at Standard Systems Group's Software Factory.
At more than 250 DOD sites around the world, tech controllers use the Facility Circuit Information Tracking system to track communications systems such as telephone and digital switches, wide and local area networks, satellites, radio systems and base cables.
The technical controller tracks a lot of information, according to FACIT Project Manager 1st Lt. Luke Bentley. This includes circuit and equipment inventory, quality control records, the status of circuit and equipment outages, who performed quality testing, and when and what outages must be reported up the chain.
"FACIT provides the tools to do all of this," he said.
On the battlefield, FACIT plays a vital role in command and control of communications, assisting system controllers in engineering the communications infrastructure prior to deployment and providing essential data necessary to effectively manage communication systems while deployed, according to Staff Sgt. Paula Flynn, a tech control functional analyst who has worked closely with programmers in SSG for nearly 3 years.
"Right now the system is used by all branches of the military to include Navy ships, submarines, the White House and the Pentagon," she said.
Tracking wasn't always so easy. "I remember when I came in the Air Force several years ago, we had thousands of pieces of paper with type-written information and lots of pen and ink changes," Flynn said. "People moved, phone numbers changed and communications systems changed with emerging technology. It was a mess."
FACIT relates a large amount of information in a small amount of space, she explained. "And with the database, it's easy to go in and make changes."
As part of a three-phase development plan, SSG released Version 3.0 in November 1999 and expects worldwide implementation of 3.1 in October.
Version 3.0 got everyone using the same software, database and application, explained Tech. Sgt. Ken Smith, FACIT technical lead. The upcoming release focuses on the automated transfer of data between locations and will allow the establishment of a global, consolidated database at the Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters.
Customers will also see some of their requests fulfilled on the new release. "In addition to replication, 3.1 will incorporate several customer-requested enhancements," Smith said. "For example, a tool bar modification to allow frequently used processes to be quickly accessed, increased sizes for some data fields, and the implementation of a user-definable ad hoc report generation process."
With worldwide implementation of phase three completed by the end of fiscal 2001, FACIT will connect about 90 percent of all DOD tech control facilities in the world, according to Smith.