Circuit check

News

Computer-assisted repair becoming reality

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. – Tobyhanna has successfully demonstrated a new video/computer system that allows technicians here to see communications-electronics components in the field.

Telemaintenance is intended to make coordination easier among Tobyhanna, logistics-assistance representatives and soldiers in the field, lessening the time it takes to troubleshoot and repair a system, which improves readiness. LARs assist soldiers in the field to repair communications-electronics systems.

The biggest goal of telemaintenance is to reduce the "no evidence of failure rate." "Some of the circuit boards that come here have nothing wrong with them due to a misdiagnosis," explained electronics engineer Anthony Caprioli of the Production Engineering Directorate. "Telemaintenance provides a way of confirming if components are really broken."

"It will save time troubleshooting," said electronics-integrated-system mechanic Joe Tomasello, Satellite Communications Systems Directorate. "It’s easier for us to understand the problem and give instructions if we can see the problem, which is sometimes hard to explain from the field."

Caprioli pointed out that telemaintenance’s advantages have the potential for substantial cost savings.

The telemaintenance system is composed of personal computers and belt computers (computers designed to be worn like a belt) that are linked through the Internet by a wireless local-area network. Tobyhanna technicians and LARs use the link to communicate directly with each other. The belt computers will have small multimeters and oscilloscopes to help diagnose problems.

The basic concept is to link LARs in the field with each other and Tobyhanna via computers with digital cameras. "LARs will be networked together to share their knowledge," Caprioli said. "LARs conduct repairs, but each has his own specialty. If a LAR needs help with a system, he can contact another LAR who specializes in that system. If they can’t solve the problem, they contact Tobyhanna."

The system was demonstrated to Paul Hoeper, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, in early November 1999. SSG Michael Primanzon, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Readiness Directorate, used the belt computer to call the High-Tech Regional Training Site from the Tactical End-Item Repair Facility to solve a problem.

Telemaintenance demonstration SSG Michael Primanzon and Roy Strauss (seated) demonstrate part of the telemaintenance system to (left to right) Larry Scheuble, Army Materiel Command; Tony LaPlaca, Communications-Electronics Command's Logistics Readiness Center; Eric Orisini, assistant secretary of the Army for logistics; and Paul Hoeper, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

"(Primanzon) also contacted the Production Engineering Directorate’s videoteleconferencing center from a tactical-satellite-terminal shelter," Caprioli said. All the demonstrations worked fine.

Telemaintenance computers will be installed in four other areas at Tobyhanna: the CECOM LAR’s office, the electronics enclosure, the field-service division and the Firefinder building when it’s completed in October.

Caprioli said FSD is especially suited for telemaintenance since FSD technicians travel worldwide to maintain and repair complex circuit switches that can’t be sent to Tobyhanna.

The final system will have a computer chat room, an electronic drawing board, access to data schematics and other features to make it more versatile. Also, its communications route will be connected to the Internet by a dedicated local-area network.

Tobyhanna will also be integrating telemaintenance computers into 2,800 shelters over a 15-year overhaul cycle.

Starting in 2002, the regular maintenance of ASM-146, 147, 189 and 190 communications-electronics shelters will be supplemented with the addition of telemaintenance computer equipment. Shelters will have electronic technical manuals and inventory capability. LARs, soldiers and Tobyhanna technicians in the field will be able to order parts on-line.

"We’re already working with Signal battalions to implement telemaintenance," Caprioli said. "In 10 years, telemaintenance and its associated electronic logistics will be available throughout the Army."

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Updates

New doctrine reflects changing technology

by SPC Michelle Helms

FORT GORDON, Ga. – Recently the Signal Center’s combat-developments directorate has been revamping some of the outdated field manuals.

Field Manual 24-24 is being updated and FMs 24-7 and 11-71 have been created to accommodate changing technology in the Signal Regiment.

"FM 24-7 and 11-71 are new manuals. They are being developed for the digitization efforts. FM 24-24 is an update and revision of the old manual," said CPT Lynda Hasper, chief of the Concepts and Doctrine Division.

"FM 24-24 is a reflux of communication equipment coming in. (This manual) is basically a catalogue for all the equipment that is out there in the field. It’s a Signal-reference data guide," said Rick San Miguel, also of the Concepts and Doctrine Division.

"FM 24-7 covers the duties and responsibilities of Signal support personnel: how are they going to handle the network, how are they going to manage the area network within that unit. It starts off by introducing what a computer system is, what a network is, who’s responsible for what. It talks about security, what regulations cover security, and gives troubleshooting guides and references," he added.

"FM 11-71 covers Army and joint networks from the highest echelons of network control," said Raymond Dick, Concepts and Doctrine Division. "The manual explains the network-control centers from the joint world into the Army networks throughout the strategic and operational levels of war, touching on the tactical-level networks from the foxhole to the joint world."

Dick said that FM 24-7 touches on many things covered in 11-71. The purpose of the two manuals is to connect everything from the foxhole to the joint world.

"FM 11-71 covers the networks on the strategic side of the house – post, camp and station – into the tactical echelons of corps networks," he said.

The manuals are geared primarily for soldiers in the field.

"The maneuver units will benefit most from 24-7. The name itself, ‘Tactical local-area networks,’ means it’s for the user, the tactical guys. It’s geared for that type of audience, but it’s beneficial for any soldier who reads the first three chapters," San Miguel said.

To accommodate the changing developments in the field, FM 24-24 is in the process of being updated.

"With all the networks getting more and more complicated, there is new inventory being introduced into the Army. FM 24-24 is there to keep a record of everything. FM 24-24 is the catalogue of the Army, as far as equipment goes. It’s like a shopping book," San Miguel said.

FM 24-7 has already been published (Oct. 8, 1999). FM 11-71 is still underway. The doctrine division’s goal was to get 11-71 completed by January.

SPC Helms is a staff writer for The Signal, Fort Gordon’s post newspaper.

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General-officer transitions

Deputy commander promoted

FORT GORDON, Ga. – COL Velma "Von" Richardson, the Signal Center’s deputy commander, was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony here Jan. 14.

BG Velma "Von" RichardsonMG Peter Cuviello, Chief of Signal, promoted the new general officer. CSM John Holden, Regimental command sergeant major, assisted Cuviello. CSM Luis Mora of 1108th Signal Brigade uncased Richardson’s brigadier-general flag; traditionally the last command sergeant major to serve with a commander before the commander’s promotion does this, and Richardson commanded 1108th Signal Brigade before assuming her present duties.

"Von is an advocate for mentoring and the epitome of Army values," the Chief of Signal told the audience packed into the Signal Center’s Alexander Hall. "That’s why people who aren’t local have made their way back to be here. She’s also big on ‘team’ and a consummate promoter of the Signal Regiment. As an individual, she’s real – there’s no fašade, she tells it like it is."

Richardson’s remarks simply included her gratitude toward family and friends. "Over the years, God has sent me many angels with messages," she said. "I heeded the messages and thanked the messenger."

The solemn, touching ceremony had a few moments of levity. As Cuviello pinned Richardson’s star onto her right shoulder and did the traditional "thump" on it, Richardson’s husband Bill gently touched the star he pinned onto his wife’s left shoulder and waved his hand over it, provoking laughter from the audience. The audience could also sympathize with Richardson as she first stood at the speaker’s podium, looked out over the faces of well-wishers, and said, "I’m experiencing different emotions right now, but they can best be described in the words of singer-songwriter James Brown: ‘I feel good!’"

Of Interest

Firm releases free software tools

Digital Logistics recently developed and released two full-featured combat-operations and logistics tracking-and-reporting software tools for Win95/98/NT.

The company’s president, Bob Dalton, said the free software is intended to "provide commanders, operations and logistics personnel software tools that incorporate the latest combat reporting and tracking standards in a highly graphical ‘point and click’ software application that will run on any reasonably modern commercial-off-the-shelf personal computer" with Win95/98/NT. The software is ideal for both staff training and real-world combat operations and logistics tracking, he said.

One software application is called Visual Combat Operations Tracker, or VisCOT. It’s designed to work in tandem with the other freeware from Digital Logistics: Visual Combat Logistics Tracker, or VisCLT.

"Simply put, VisCLT does for the logistics side what VisCOT does for the operations arena without much duplication of information content," Dalton said.

The software’s features, Dalton said, are:

  • Ability to easily import information from subordinate units;
  • Ability to easily export information via a variety of methods to higher headquarters;
  • Instant unit operational and logistics status when needed;
  • 125 unit graphic symbols covering almost every type of Army unit;
  • Professional-looking printed reports when only hard copy will do;
  • Full password support with four assignable security levels to limit access to the application;
  • Comprehensive context-sensitive online help; and
  • Transition tracking, to know who made the last change and when.
  • Screenshot free software VisCOT Screenshot free software VisCLT Screenshot free software VisCLT Screenshots from VisCOT (left) and VisCLT (center and right) show a graphical "point and click" interface. Both software applications are free from their creator, Digital Logistics.

    To see more screenshots or download VisCOT, click on Digital Logistics’ website at http://www.digitallogistics.com/milapp1.htm. To see more screenshots or download VisCLT, go to http://www.digitallogistics.com/LogApp6.htm.

    Diamond divider

    One-stop info on Army Vision now on web

    WASHINGTON (Army News Service) – Soldiers can now visit a website to get information about the Army Vision and the status of the ongoing transformation.

    The Army Vision webpage is accessible from the Army’s homepage on the left-hand toolbar by clicking on "The Army Vision," or by going direct to http://www.army.mil/armyvision/.

    Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki announced the new Army Vision in October. It dictates how the Army will move to a faster, more agile force for the future.

    "The Vision webpage will serve as a one-stop source for information and the latest developments as the Army continues to transition to the new vision. (It’s) a continuous work in progress, and we’ll add new material to the page as it becomes available," said MAJ Scott Hays, one of the site’s developers.

    Hays stressed the webpage is not only for soldiers but also for members of the American public who want to follow the transformation.

    Some of the topics covered on the page include the Army Vision statement, a "What’s New" section to highlight recent changes or additions to the site, Vision briefings and publications, and frequently asked questions and answers.

    There are also relevant news releases and Army News Service articles, speeches and interviews with senior Army leaders, and links to associated webpages.

    Acronym QuickScan
    CECOM – Communications-Electronics Command
    FM – field manual
    FSD – field-service division
    LAR – logistics-assistance representative
    55th Combat Camera photographer in Bosnia ON THE JOB -- SGT Olga Barraza of 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), Fort Meade, Md., captures the facial expression of a refugee boy who is about to receive a stuffed animal donated by U.S. Army soldiers. Barraza is a combat-camera photographer; she and other 55th Signal Company soldiers deploy around the world to support the Army with visual information -- like here when Barraza was deployed to Eagle Base, Tuzla, in Bosnia to support Operation Joint Forge.

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    04/04/12
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