REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. –
The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Logistics Center’s Publications Services Division continues its efforts to streamline updates to technical publications.
Army technical publications are manuals that provide instructions to Soldiers on how to operate, maintain and repair equipment.
According to Shannon Marion, ALC applications team branch chief, the Equipment Publication Control Office is the first stop in the authentication process for technical manuals to be approved for use by Soldiers.
“Our office is the center of excellence and [contains] the subject matter experts for the command, but the individual weapon systems program offices manage the technical data and the development of that technical data,” said Marion.
Marion went on to state that in August 2016 they were given the capability to update packages. The Interactive Authoring and Display Software can be used to Publications Service Division can create and update files in current manuals instead of replacing the full book each time a change is made.
“The weapon systems technical manuals are very large - several GB of data,” said Marion. “But the changes for each of those revisions are often fairly small in size.”
For example, in one situation, only 72MB of a 3GB file needed to be updated. “So being able to have that smaller update file available means the Soldiers have less data they have to download,” she explained. “Doing that also allowed us to enable this automatic update capability for the technical data.”
The process to update manuals is a simple process, as long has the user has internet access and a valid common access card.
“IADS checks a secure server for an update once the manual is opened on the computer,” said Marion. “If an update is available, then IADS will let the user know that an update is available by placing a red identifier. If the user possibly missed a few updates then IADS will inform the user of however many updates are available.”
According to Marion, although the update may seem immediate, there is a process of authentication prior to approval. The updates are routed through the command EPCO, the U.S. Army Materiel Command Logistics Data Analysis Center, and then the Army Publishing Directorate.
“Testing has been done with some program offices for rapid updates, which include stepping outside their normal publishing cycle and releasing data on a more frequent basis,” said Marion. “So this could be successful for safety of flight or critical safety messages, or any other kind of information that needs to be delivered to the Soldier sooner than their normal cycle.”
A test set was done with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system and provided quarterly updates to demonstrate a quicker turnaround.
Marion stated that the technology and capability for immediate updates exists and the the Publications Services Division has been working on an initiative to speed the process. The Army authentication process still has to be followed but, under urgent circumstances, they should be able to expedite the update and get the changes to the Soldier quicker.