The work of war is spreadsheets and checklists that occasionally ends in explosions. For every effort to improve the explode-y part of the equation, there’s room for making the checklists clearer, the spreadsheets simpler to enter, and the long logistical tail smoothed out to as efficient a process as possible. That’s where the Battle Record information Core Environment app, produced for the Air Force, comes in. It’s a tool designed to let aircraft maintainers perform their checks and log data right into a computer system at the site of the repair, without losing time or details in going between the vehicle and a computer.
The app, which runs on iOS, was developed by Headquarters Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Monkton for the purpose of letting maintainers access the maintenance database at the point of repair.
That simple goal is fundamentally a time-saving one: allowing the maintainers to log data in place, without securing tools, returning to a desktop computer in an office and logging in to enter the information there. (Previously, maintainers would write the information down on paper, and then transport that back to the office and hope they logged it as clearly as if it was still immediately fresh in their minds.)
In order to make the app work and stay in contact with the database, Monkton worked with Amazon and Verizon to find a way for the app to securely communicate with the existing legacy database. The Pentagon, as the bureaucracy of war, is essentially a series of updating databases, and everything that reduces friction between the people perform tasks tracked in databases and recording the performance of those tasks in the databases is time-saving.
"Working with partners like Monkton to extend the cloud to the tactical edge to where people do their work, enables our customers to reimagine their legacy business processes,” said Dave Levy, vice president of Amazon Web Services’ U.S. Government business.
If anything, maintenance databases are far more operational or logistical than they are tactical, but the overall effect is the same. A useful, secure app saves time for maintenance, and saves time at scale.
It is here, in the checklists and databases and spreadsheets of war, that the military can expect to see the most immediate gains from secure cloud technology.
Kelsey Atherton blogs about military technology for C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain, Defense News, and Military Times. He previously wrote for Popular Science, and also created, solicited, and edited content for a group blog on political science fiction and international security.