The increased use of information technology is one of the four pillars included in the new five-year strategy released by the U.S. Transportation Command.
Information technology is the driver that keeps the wheels of Transcom’s global transportation and distribution enterprise turning, Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill, the command’s director of command, control, communications and cyber systems, told American Forces Press Service.
“There is not one single organization in this command or its components that does not rely on information technology,” said Touhill.
One of the first steps Transcom will take when it comes to increased use of IT is evaluating the 77 major IT systems across 16 discrete networks, which cost about $500 million a year.
“We are working as a team with our components and within the headquarters here, looking at opportunities to consolidate where it makes sense, retire some old and inefficient systems and perhaps birth some new capabilities using some of the latest techniques and technologies,” Touhill said.
They key to the whole initiative, Touhill said, is standardization: standardized views, information exchanges, architectures and delivery.
Transcom relies on multiple portals to exchange vast quantities of information with customers and the components and commercial partners that provide the aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and other assets that support the mission. Adopting a standard language – such as the universally recognized Extensible Markup Language, or XML – would reduce maintenance costs while streamlining the process. Touhill said it also would better position Transcom to leverage industry-wide best practices.
Similarly, Touhill wants to introduce more web technologies to replace the service-oriented architectures used to link these multiple communications systems. This could dramatically reduce costs, he said, eliminating the need to maintain interfaces that cost about $100,000 apiece to maintain each year.