July 12, 2018 —
Twenty years ago, who could’ve imagined self-driving cars, video chatting with family and friends or having the world in the palm of our hand on a small device?
For Installation Management and Installation Operations employees across the Defense Logistics Agency, staying ahead of the technology curve is vital to supporting the warfighter, stewarding tax dollars and providing a secure work environment.
Remember when all you had to do to access a U.S. military facility was display a vehicle decal or a valid driver’s license?
Times have changed. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has implemented tighter security measures.
One such measure is the Defense Biometric Identification System, a networked database police officers at all DLA installations use to verify the authorization of personnel seeking to enter military installations. DBIDS uses fingerprints, iris scans and facial images to verify identity and can scan both the common access card and the enhanced RealID driver’s licenses now used by most states. It automatically updates a person’s information from federal databases, according to the Defense Manpower Center, which manages the system.
“The program alerts registration personnel and installation security personnel to barred individuals across jurisdictional boundaries and eliminates duplication of data,” said Jose Gonzalez, a physical security specialist at DLA Headquarters Installation Management Security and Emergency Services at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Gonzalez said DLA launched DBIDS at the headquarters in the spring of 2014. In addition to the McNamara Headquarters Complex, it’s now used at four DLA-hosted installations at Richmond, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; and San Joaquin, California. Gonzalez said access control at other DLA locations is handled by the responsible military service host.
He noted DBIDS has many benefits:
• Greater difficulty for forging an identity or using someone else’s ID card to gain access.
• Visual and audible crosscheck for security personnel, who verify identity through color photos and standard personal information.
• Scalability, allowing access to be limited to duty hours only or specific dates and times for visitors.
• Information archiving for future visits.
• Options of a barcoded, paper pass for short-term visits and plastic ID card for long-term visits.
•Increased security via electronic authentication of credentials and shared alert information across the Department of Defense.
Gonzalez said since DLA implemented DBIDS, DLA police officers have performed more than 16 million scans and have taken action on more than 18 thousand alerts for terminated, expired and lost or stolen IDs.
The 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and similar incidents since have changed the way DLA notifies employees of emergencies and even weather closures. The agency realized it needed a system that could warn employees faster and across multiple devices, said Juan Torres, an emergency management program manager at DLA Headquarters Installation Management Security and Emergency Services. So DLA implemented AtHoc as its mass warning and notification system in 2013. It uses a client-based application for desktop pop-up alerts, but the application itself can deliver text or voice alerts to any device a user chooses.
Torres said AtHoc also allows different organizations to use it to share alerts and provide to their own users a capability that is optimal at facilities that are DLA stand-alone or a tenant to the military. It also can create and manage users, administrators and operators. Administrators can set up alerts to target specific groups or wider audiences, with safeguards to minimize errors.
He said AtHoc can integrate with other alerting systems such as Giant Voice or Paging Systems, and is in use at DLA Headquarters and the four DLA-hosted installations, as well as DLA facilities in Battle Creek, Michigan; Dayton, Ohio; and Philadelphia.
At some sites’ visitor centers, DLA Installation Operations is using a new system to cut down on wait times and increase customer satisfaction. According to Gonzalez, “This system is currently being used at three of the four DLA installations with plans to implement, at a future date, at the remaining installation and DLA Headquarters.”
Eugene Marchand, a security specialist at DLA Installation Operations in Richmond, said the Visitor Management System is modeled after the queuing system used by Departments of Motor Vehicles all across the country.
“When customers arrive, they’re given a number based on the purpose of their visit. The customer is then placed in the queue and is automatically called to a station when a staff member is available,” he said.
VMS allows three categories of services: Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, the Defense Biometric Identification System and Honeywell cards. A customer who needs more than one type of service can go directly to the front of the queue for the second type of service, he said.
Marchand noted while VMS has only been in use about a year, it’s already paid dividends. The Visitor Center at the Richmond site has served nearly 23,000 customers, reduced the average wait time to less than 14 minutes and increased customer satisfaction.
Later this year, DLA Installation Management Fire and Emergency Services enterprisewide will implement Emergency Reporting, an automated, web-enabled system that collects and reports information on fire and emergency service operations; incident-response documentation; reporting for all emergency incidents; and records for emergency medical patients.
Roland Todd, a program manager for DLA Headquarters Installation Management Security and Emergency Services, said this new system will help standardize records management and reporting for reports on emergency patient care and fire records manage-ment for the enterprise, ensuring compliance with Department of Defense and DLA policies, and national consensus standards.
Emergency Reporting helps collect and organize large volumes of required critical data on personnel, risk response and prevention, demographics, apparatus and equipment inventory, fire prevention and inspections, maintenance, fire hydrants, scheduling and training, Todd said. This will help leaders spot trends in dispatching emergency apparatus, establish command in emergency incidents and more efficiently run daily operations.
The system will only go into service at the four DLA-hosted installations with fire departments, Todd added. DLA Headquarters is served by Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services and follows Army reporting and recording requirements.
Enhanced 911 is a system used by emergency communication center dispatchers at five DLA-hosted installations. This system, in operation since 2013, delivers emergency wired, wireless and/or Voice-over-Internet Protocol to emergency communication centers.
Matt Ameden, a senior fire protection specialist for DLA Headquarters Installation Management Security and Emergency Services, said the system automatically provides call and caller information to dispatchers to quickly and accurately dispatch personnel.
“The system accesses embedded information from both wired and wireless calls to identify the caller location, phone number and geo-coordinates instantly when [the location is] provided by the call carrier,” he said.
Working off that information is the Computer Aided Dispatch System. It collects all data on an incident in one location for the dispatcher, Todd noted. He said CAD has been installed at Headquarters, Richmond and San Joaquin. Susquehanna and Columbus are scheduled to come online later this year.
Adding the system at these sites will “ensure reliable and predictable emergency call routing and location validation, regardless of the media type or device being used to place a call,” Todd said.
Patient Stats, Stat
A new type of software allows DLA first responders to access medical protocols from a computer or handheld device. Responsoft gives responders access to the treatment methodologies used in nonemergency patient care.
Before Responsoft, installation fire and emergency personnel had to search through a bulky binder filled with paper copies of the treatment protocols just to clarify procedures, said Ronald Born, fire chief at DLA Installation Operations at Columbus.
Responsoft allows direct access to the protocol from anywhere, so that the first responder no longer has to retrieve the protocol books during an emergency if they have a question, Born said. The digital platform also can help users calculate drug dosages.
“This time-saving measure is one of the most valuable components the software has to offer,” Born said. “When an update to the protocol is completed, the application sends a message to all the end users that an update is required. This ensures all personnel have instant access to the latest information.”
He noted Responsoft eliminates the need to print large numbers of treatment protocols, reducing the installation’s environmental impact on the community of Whitehall, Ohio, with whom the department has a mutual aid agreement. Using the software, the department has reduced the paper it uses by about 3,000 pages or more, Born said.
DLA installation staff — engineers, real property planners, master planners, energy managers, maintainers and environmental managers — maintain records and diagrams of complex data systems and workflows. But they haven’t always been able to share this information effectively.
Reid Burns, an engineering technician for DLA Installation Operations at Richmond’s Installation Management Division, said this is where the Geographical Information System comes in.
“It offers complete situational awareness and authoritative information access to each of the installation management branches,” he said. “It’s an invaluable tool.”
Burns said DLA Distribution, the agency’s largest major subordinate command, took the lead in developing and implementing a GIS program for its two host sites and 22 tenant locations worldwide in 2012. Three years later, two other MSCs joined: DLA Aviation and DLA Land and Maritime.
To ensure data would be widely accessible, DLA Distribution developed a comprehensive GIS website with data on key infrastructure and facilities, with a user-friendly interface. Subject matter experts also use the portal to check data quality and identify future data requirements.
Shelby Hawkins, a high-voltage electrician within DLA Installation Operations at Richmond’s Installation Management Division, said he trusts these utility layouts more than the old sketched-up hardcopies. The reliability and real-time data accessibility is an invaluable, tangible asset that saves countless man-hours.
Burns said these utility layouts are a result of a survey of subsurface utility systems. The survey located across the facility the water, gas, underground electric, storm and sanitary sewer, geothermal and communication lines. It also included the surface features for these utilities, such as fire hydrants, valves, vaults and manholes.
Besides physically locating and tracing utilities and recording GPS positions, the goal was to provide as complete a record as possible of underground infrastructure — to build a current and usable utility GIS database with attributes such as pipe size, asset numbers and even photos of vaults and surface structures with underground utility connections.
“The end result of this survey has enabled maintenance mechanics with real-time utility data and layouts in the field with a simple touch to their tablet,” Burns said. “The implementation of web-enabled tablets with the ability to access the GIS portal has consolidated thousands of record drawings into a small, mobile footprint.”
Other modules within the GIS portal for Defense Supply Center Richmond include facilities, master plan, simplified utilities, utilities, environmental and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Data within these modules are grouped by the type of utility, facility or environmental program. This allows users, especially those in charge of a particular program, to access the information needed with a few clicks of the mouse.
Over the past few years, DSCR has been making improvements to the geospatial databases in Richmond and at other tenant locations. Data reconciliation with other enterprise systems, like the real-property database, is becoming a priority. Developers are also trying to include data from other databases, such as the Army Corps of Engineers’ BUILDER, ROOFER and PAVER programs. Website improvements underway include solutions for space management and analytics, web-based and interactive master plans, as well as certain types of emergency-response applications.
Burns said DLA has invested roughly $7 million in its program for geospatial information management.
Help in Hand
On any given day, you’ll find Bryan Broughton, door mechanic at DLA Installation Operations at Richmond, out inspecting roll-down doors in warehouses and bays.
A daunting task, according to Broughton, considering there are roughly 763 of these doors.
“Fifty percent of the time, I’m doing inspections on fire-protection doors. And the other 50 percent of the time, I’m doing inspections on non-fire-protection doors,” he said.
These inspections and risk assessments used to mean a lot of paperwork. That was until Broughton and others in his division were issued compact computer tablets.
“Before, I would go around with a notebook and write down all the information: serial number, door size, if it’s powered, what company made the door and its fire rating,” he said.
Then he would have to make it back to his desk and enter all that information into a database on his desktop computer. Now he can capture data, download technical manuals and research topics such as code infractions while he’s still in the field.
“Instead of having a binder full of paperwork, I have a database at the click of a button,” he said.
Glenn Cooper, chief of the Installation Maintenance Branch, says the division has been using the tablets for more than a year.
“We’re trying to use the tablet to get rid of all the paper, to make it a more efficient operation with information being more accessible,” he said.
Phillip Fitz is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanic in the division. He works with the installation fire department to test fire suppression systems, fire alarms and smoke detectors. This makes sure the HVAC systems are in sync with fire-detection systems. He echoed Cooper and Broughton.
“Now with the tablet, I’m able to cut out all the paperwork and the chance I could make a mistake. I can type in the information on the spot, neatly and correctly,” he said.
Whether it’s saving time, saving money, saving waste or saving lives, DLA Installation Management and Installation Operations are using technology to benefit the workforce, and ultimately, the warfighter.
The Visitor Center at the Richmond site has served nearly 23,000 customers, reduced the average wait time to less than 14 minutes and increased customer satisfaction.