Insights for U.S. Navy Requirements
Abstract — The Military power of the U.S. Navy in Capacity, Capability, and Readiness is increasingly dependent on its supporting infrastructure of complex supply chains and logistics. This coupled with the increasingly web-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) mandates a keen sense of Cyber-Security to enable tactical employment of military assets in information operations and future operating environment and the battlespaces of Air, Land, Sea, Space, and the Cyber domain. Interoperability is key in establishing a Naval Operating Concept (NOC) that leverages U.S. Marine Corps contributions to naval campaigning and naval expeditionary operations. The Logistics Facilitation Solution (LFS) presented in these integrated supply chain concepts and insights use web-based technologies to provide an immediate impact on both the complex Navy/ Marine Corps joint operating infrastructure and the cascading large defense contractors with their small and medium enterprise (SME) partners. Competiveness as the primary maritime arm of the U.S. Joint Force is enhanced across the range of military operations (ROMO) by providing business process tools and Systems of Systems (SoS) interoperability that will provide necessary institutional agility and improve abilities to interact with other U.S. services and Allied Governments to satisfy logistics requirements needed to transport goods across international borders while preserving America’s strategic influence in key regions of the world. This same solution also allows the Navy to provide critical trade data across borders for added efficiency and security. In build operations, this ability supports trends in the growth of complex supply chains, leveraging competitive advantages, savings, and opportunities to improve the efficiency of intra-company, Business-to-Business (B2B), and Business-to-Government (B2G) data and document exchange. These solutions allow SMEs improved access, efficiency, and positively impacts ship building for added capability and legacy replacement, modernization, maintenance procedures, costs, and standards by leveraging new and evolving technologies. In battlespace logistics, supply chain integration concepts enhance the movement of fuel, water, rations, and ammunition throughout the domains of warfare with predictive supply and maintenance optimizing tactical distribution and equipment readiness.
Index Terms—business process procedures, SoS, business competiveness, electronic data and document exchange, ICT infrastructure, trade facilitation, web-based technologies
After a period of decline and disuse due to political instability and the “pact-based trading” witnessed during the Cold War, strategic trade routes are once again an important corridor of exchange between the Eastern and Western worlds. The reemergence of a modern “Silk Road” can be traced back to changes in the geopolitical climate, mutual economic interests, and strategic allegiances for the movement of labor and capital that lead to increased globalization and economic integration due to the comparative advantages offered by the beneficial flow of goods and services1. The concepts for Navy requirements and the business process methodologies for optimization of complex supply chains were honed in the implementation and enabling of cross-border trade in the Balkans. The economic realities and the opportunities that they present provided multiple Governments and the private sector with an impetus to find mechanisms to capture these strategic benefits for sustainable growth. The implications for the Northern Ground Line of Communications (GLOC) into the Middle East were profound. The lessons learned in the successful Balkan “Pilot” are highlighted here as the basis for reasoned discourse on future DoD utilization of the proven concepts.
Worldwide, the Internet and web-based technologies are recognized as a catalyst for fundamental change in the way that businesses operate and as drivers of competitiveness measures. In a recent World Bank (WB) report entitled “Doing Business,” use of the Internet was identified as a key facilitator of improved export opportunities, along with limits to physical inspections, benchmarking, and measurement of border crossing delays2. These findings underscored the need for web-based technology applications in the areas of transportation, logistics, and supply chain management (SCM). The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) outlined several impediments in the fields of transportation, logistics, and SCM faced by SMEs that reduce access to regional and global trade markets:
- A lack of quality tradable goods, creating less demand for e-commerce-oriented transportation and logistics services
- Limited information and telecommunications infrastructure
- High costs associated with Internet connectivity and a lack of reliability
- Little or no use of electronic payment systems
- Lack of awareness of e-commerce potential and benefits.
SMEs must continue to identify, invest, and leverage innovative measures, particularly in the areas of best management practices (BMPs) and process management, for improved competitiveness4. Throughout the world, the use of systems that integrate and automate the trade process, both B2B and B2G, are recognized as crucial to success in the global marketplace. The development and implementation of these systems is a focal point of multilateral organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations (UN) in their interactions with developing and middle income countries.
The commercial global supply chain much like the military logistics support network is long and in many cases affected by cross-border problems associated with delays due to border crossing procedures, trade costs, and standards. These realities underscore the need for information technology, support, communication, and collaboration. ICT infrastructure supports SCM by enabling these links in communication and collaboration to trade partners and through the provision of effective and efficient solutions for decision-making in both the stochastic demand environment of parts supplies and maintenance and the deterministic demand models of manufacturing. The Navy relies on both models for efficiency and effectiveness. The technology of interoperability of supply chain participants enabled ICT infrastructure to improve competitiveness by stimulating investment markets, capturing higher value export markets, alleviating supply chain bottlenecks, and generating significant numbers of new jobs for The Balkans. A trade facilitation solution (TFS) that addresses impediments to competitiveness for Balkan SMEs was successfully demonstrated in Macedonia that provides the infrastructure necessary to become the core of a regional “single window” solution that will relieve bottlenecks in cargo traffic along Corridor X6. Utilizing a system of this kind, SMEs in the Balkans are in a position to capitalize on their strategic locations on and around major trade corridors that intersect the region. This paper will present this integrated single window solution in greater detail as a basis to illustrate the concept for military operational utilization. The next section provides a detailed description of the technical aspects of the demonstrated solution and includes the pilot implementation, details of data and document exchange, and the power of web service reporting. The benefits to SMEs in the form of border crossing procedures, costs, and standards are also reported and in the conclusions specific policy issues concerning this TFS are addressed.
II. TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF TRADE FACILITATION
On July 1st, 2008 Inner Circle Logistics (ICLogistics, www.iclogistics.com), Customs Administration Republic of Macedonia (CARM), and their technical partners successfully implemented a pilot unveiling a web-based solution that created the first functioning “single window” data entry system in the Balkans. This system allows for the electronic submission of trade documentation to the Customs Administrations of Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria by private business. The technology and processes employed during the pilot greatly simplify trading procedures for SMEs and allows greater cooperation between SEE Governments on strategic issues. The solution integrates automatic identification and data capture (AIDC), global positioning system (GPS), and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies with electronic trade documents, available in multiple languages, for data reporting that is designed to be operations oriented. The solution provides the connectivity required to complete the “last mile” of supply chain integration in an inexpensive and easy-to-use format. It delivers significant cost savings, international reach, and an unprecedented level of access to critical information by combining a B2B technology model with a unique process for B2G and G2G data and document exchange.
A. Pilot Details
The pilot demonstrated the flexibility of the TFS to provide access along trade corridors and trading partners by incorporating a diverse cross-section of the public and private sectors. These partners included the businesses Alkaloid, Learnica, and Tikves; freight forwarders Birkart Globistics and Kuehne & Nagel; and Custom broker SkySped International. The Pilot’s technology partners included Sun Microsystems (hardware and servers), Motorola (Canopy SystemTM), GeoNET GPS, and Neology and Motorola/Symbol (RFID and AIDC technologies). These above partners’ tools were integrated using the trade facilitation software suite allowing for the movement of six shipments through the required processes to export goods from Macedonia for shipment along Corridor X. All parties involved in the Pilot were linked using the solution, with access to all required documents available before the shipment reached the In-Land Customs Terminal and border crossing point (BCP) Tabanovce. During the Pilot, UNeDocs (Single Administrative Document (SAD), International Consignment Note (CMR), and the Phyto-Sanitary Certificate (PSC)) were used for each of the six shipments. These trade documents were entered once via the “single window” port and routed electronically to required government agencies for processing. The ability to view trade documents in multiple language formats that contain the same data and structure provides added flexibility to SMEs participating in regional trade. These documents were available in Bulgarian, English, Macedonian, and Serbian. Other language formats are available for every country along Corridor X and other trade corridors worldwide. Access to trade documents in multiple languages containing the same data structure and information improves global trade opportunities in the face of varying speeds at which developing countries adopt both electronic trade documents and the standardized format offered by UNeDocs. A key aspect of the TFS is its powerful security measures to maintain the confidentiality of data elements identified by the data’s owner(s) utilizing Department of Defense level protection all while maintaining ease of use. New users are integrated by simply installing the software and having access to an Internet connection, making the solution easily scalable and seamlessly using existing data elements. Current data and document requirements can be met today while quickly managing the inevitable changes and future requirements with minimal disruption.
B. Data and Document Exchange
The TFS was designed to meet the requirements of global standards in trade, as well as complex document requirements, using a custom Graphical User Interface (GUI) that handles integration between trading partners with varying ICT infrastructures and levels of sophistication. This is critical for integrating supply chains from SMEs to large multinational corporations. Data flow of this type, which is not software platform dependent, can support integrated supply chain and border management that allows for cooperation and information sharing among companies, countries, and inspection agencies. This ability improves the functioning of supply chains by improving information exchange for reduced processing times without the loss of security, thereby minimizing costs to both business and government. This capability results in unprecedented access to data and information that increase regional trade facilitation and business competitiveness by using improved ICT infrastructure that integrates AIDC, RFID, and GPS components with trade documentation for real-time shipment visibility and transparency. At each step, ICLogistics’ flagship software Scarborough FairSM was used to upload documents to Virtual Relational databases (VRdb) by required authorities and company representatives. Each VRdb accumulates data from all sources (Shipper, Customs, Border Police, Phyto-sanitary, RFID scanning) throughout the movement of goods and across borders, storing the various pieces of data that populate reports and analysis systems. This information and the AIDC, RFID, and GPS data can be linked or combined to create web-services reports.
C. Web Service Reports
The TFS provides powerful reporting capabilities combining static (site) and dynamic (AIDC/RFID/GPS) data in a user friendly format using web-services reports. These reports increase regional trade facilitation and business competitiveness by presenting trade data in useable and efficient formats. Static and dynamic data are stored in VRdb’s then linked or combined to create each web service report or provide existing systems with necessary data. In the case of the trade facilitation solution, an association was made at the beginning of the delivery process between the RFID tag IDs (truck, cargo, and driver) and trade documents related to each shipment. Thus, the data from all the RFID tags read throughout shipping were linked in the database to the corresponding shipment and associated shipping documents.
These web service reports allow for improved and timely decision making by presenting “operations oriented” data in useable formats. These reports avoid a “data dump” by routing specific information to those who have “need to know” in a format that is suitable to gather the requisite information pertinent to the task or situation at hand, allowing for improved resource allocation and responsiveness. An example of these reports provided using the TFS is the shipment’s Vehicle Report. This Report provides a history of the vehicle’s movement via GPS tracking and time signatures when RFID scanning was performed at points along the supply chain. The data can be “cut” in any number of ways and with any type of underlying trade and transportation data elements, allowing data to be pre-populated, updated, and shared with multiple users who have varying levels of access for an unlimited combination of data flow possibilities7. The ability of this TFS to allow for electronic data and document exchange and provide real-time information in useable formats that precede shipments leads to tangible benefits for SMEs.
III. SME BENEFITS
The capability provided by this TFS provides real impact to regional SMEs through reductions in the time associated with data entry and key stroke error, the improved veracity of trade data, and improved resource allocation as the amount of man hours needed to enter and verify data is reduced. Owing to the net-centric processes that work across software platforms, languages, and varying company requirements, the solution puts real integration in the grasp of SMEs with limited ICT and financial resources. This type of flexibility and power to improve business processes can have a profound effect on profitability, competitiveness, and the ability to participate in the global marketplace. A cost advantage is achievable by supply chain participants (buyers, suppliers, freight forwarders, and regulatory agencies) by using a simple, low-cost, net-centric method to transact business that is not platform or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system dependent. The benefits attributed to the demonstrated solution impact trade facilitation by providing:
- Enhanced regional competitiveness by the participation and collaboration allowed through electronic trade
- Increased access to participants and competitors in the global supply chain
- Reduced operating costs by eliminating fax, phone, manual data entry and related errors
- Increased systemic and procedural predictability using an integrated and automated trade process for efficient data exchange
- Access to new business opportunities in other countries leading to greater competition and more competitive pricing of goods sold into the national and international markets
- Creation of regional demand for skilled workers, reducing brain drain
- Maximization of throughput of goods at border crossings with minimal delays
- Avoidance of control duplication along a given corridor.
These benefits can be classified as improvements in three critical areas for trade facilitation and competitiveness; border crossing procedures, costs, and standards.
A. Border Crossing Procedures
Border crossings are often cited as some of the more burdensome challenges faced by companies engaged in global and regional trade. Border agencies often have no mechanisms to exchange data and information with their counterparts across the border. If policies are in place that allows this exchange, the exchange takes place using paper based documents that do not allow for flexibility or expediency. Areas that are improved by the TFS include increased efficiency, reduced delays, and improved security and transparency. Creating an electronic system for in-land terminal and border crossing procedures that can read, record, and share information collected using AIDC/RFID/GPS devices and other electronic data flows provide major advantages to SMEs. As the Pilot demonstrated, these benefits include:
- Time and cost reduction of border crossing by uploading of shipment information electronically through AIDC devices
- Improving data reliability exchanged and stored in Customs and customer databases using electronic data transfers
- Shipment tracking capability to determine where a shipment is located and where a problem might exist using integrated GPS technology
- Improved border security and accountability, reducing corruption through increased visibility and transparency of procedures, documents and shipments.
Findings suggest that each country has several areas where improvement can be made to better facilitate regional trade. Shipments waiting at borders for extended periods contribute to poor asset utilization, higher delivery costs, and reduced competitiveness. Research has indicated that every day of delay reduces trade by at least 1 percent9. Using this estimated cost, a single day of delay is approximately $108 million in lost regional trade between Macedonia, Serbia, and Bulgaria.
On-line access to supply chain information in a secure environment with real-time data access offers significant opportunities to improve competitiveness by providing information for decision making, better asset visibility, and management that leads to lowering the cost of trade. Optimizing business processes and Internet infrastructure is crucial to success by allowing firms to substitute lower information and technology costs for the higher costs associated with transportation, inventory, and/or labor. A powerful benefit of the TFS is its ability to reduce costs through the electronic exchange of trade and business documents between customers and clients across borders. This exchange allows for significant cost savings as a result of implementation due to reductions in faxing, telephone calls, mailing, and repeated data entry and the keystroke errors associated. Reduction in these areas of inefficiency creates streamlined transactions between buyer, supplier, and the end-to-end delivery of finished goods. Implementing AIDC-enabled, net-centric ICT tools that transfer data automatically eliminates the need for re-keying data and enables data sharing among border agencies across the border itself. It is estimated that by eliminating manual data entry, providing data electronically and in advance, and providing for information sharing across agencies and borders, total truck transit time can be reduced by 18 percent.
A system that integrates the data associated with border crossing and trade in a secure environment, sent electronically, reduces opportunities for corruption among officials as the exchanged data is stored, searched, standardized, and verified in a VRdb. Authentication technologies like biometric identification and electronic signature capabilities further decrease opportunities for corruption and can be seamlessly integrated into the provided solution7. Corruption has a deleterious effect on SMEs, drastically reducing their ability to compete with larger more established firms in the global marketplace. By installing proven ICT infrastructure that effectively and efficiently combats corruption, Balkan countries will provide critical visibility and transparency that has long term positive impact on sustained economic growth.
Key to the demonstrated TFS is its ability to accommodate varying standards, recognizing that today’s regional and international commerce is not standardized by ICT, language, or document requirements. The ICT solution demonstrated adheres to the standards of the European Union (EU) and addresses critical areas identified by the World Bank (WB) for the improvement of trade facilitation in the Balkans. This is important as noted by UNECE, “the use of standards and available tools will help ensure that the systems developed to implement the Single Window are more likely to be compatible with similar developments in other countries, and could also help in the exchange of information between such facilities over time8.” Perhaps the most critical issue is the varying ICT standards between countries and along trade corridors. The TFS is designed to work in conjunction with any ICT platform, cooperating with existing systems rather than requiring additional investments in new ICT. This minimizes the need for additional ICT acquisition and training costs that can be debilitating to small business and Governments. Because of the solution’s flexibility, it also allows users to easily transition to next generation e-Commerce platforms in the future. The ability of the solution to supply data to multiple users in multiple desired formats provides additional value. The TFS allows SMEs to accommodate multiple format requests for each of its trading partners or multiple Government agencies with ease. An example of this adherence to trade standards is witnessed by the TFS’s ability to achieve the goals currently sought through the Single Window Initiative of UN/CEFAT Recommendation 33 for the paperless movement of trade documents9. The ability to demonstrate a cost effective solution that makes the paperless movement of goods possible is powerful as the paper based trade system currently in place has been estimated to result in losses of up to 7% of cross-border trade. Recommendation 33 also advocates the concept of an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO). An AEO is a business entity that has been deemed reliable in the context of his customs related operations that allow for benefits such as simplified Customs procedures; fewer physical and document based customs controls, priority treatment of consignments, choice of Customs control locations, reduced data requirements, and prior notification of further controls. The TFS demonstrated provides ICT infrastructure needed to make this concept a reality by allowing companies that have been cleared by regional Customs Administrations to be processed in an expedited manner while ensuring a critical level of security by Governments due to increased shipment visibility and real-time risk analysis capability.
There are several keys to supply chain competitiveness in the world of global competition. First, be ready for business change & global competition. Both Primes (Navy) and SMEs (defense contractors) should strive to become technically proficient by leveraging the Internet and possibilities for information systems integration and deployment. As previous research has indicated that SMEs typically provide capabilities that their larger counterparts do not have and cannot create cost-effectively13:
- Agility in responding to changes in technologies, markets, and trends
- Efficiency due to less bureaucracy
- Initiative and entrepreneurial behavior on the part of employees resulting in higher levels of creativity and energy and greater desire for success
- Access to specialized proprietary technologies, process capabilities, and expertise
- Shorter time-to-market because operations are small and focused
- Lower labor costs and less restrictive labor contracts
- Spreading the costs of specialized capabilities over larger production volumes by serving multiple customers.
However, in order to capitalize on these comparative advantages SMEs must remain open to adopting innovative measures to stay relevant. The Department of Commerce Advisory Committee for Innovation in the 21st Century identified research focused on innovation as a key element to maintaining a competitive position. This included allowing access to data for research purposes in the areas of innovation assessments, gap analysis in innovation, and analysis of innovation as a measure of collaboration and firm performance. Two areas were SMEs can seize on opportunities for innovations are ICT improvements and SCM. As the world renowned logisticians, David Anderson and Hau Lee stated, “Supply chains in practically every industry are at the beginning of a startling reinvention triggered by the rise of the Internet. The revolution extends beyond performance improvements and efficiencies gained from automation and communication to include entirely new opportunities to create value. This new value is derived from synchronized supply chains that can reach out to a bigger market.” Key areas within SCM that benefit from utilization of the web-based technologies provided as a result of the ICT solution demonstrated are enhanced supply chain visibility and trade compliance. The Aberdeen Group found in their 2007 survey that companies employing a global supply chain visibility platform were twice as likely to have reduced total landed costs and lead times, while being twice as likely to report increased global supply chain budget accuracy16. This last point is crucial to an SME with limited liquidity. With regard to trade compliance, survey results showed that companies using automated import/export compliance procedures were 1.4 times as likely to have increased customs clearance speed16. In addition, improved visibility resulted in improved data accuracy and clarity with recent findings reporting that SCM software packages that allow event tracking, data management, and collaboration/relationship management were consistently reporting data quality and accuracy more than 80% of the time17.
ICLogistics successfully demonstrated an ICT-based trade facilitation solution that will allow SMEs and Primes to improve efficiency and cost savings through electronic document exchange, enhanced data management capability, and improved product visibility. These capabilities were successfully demonstrated using a state-of-the-art software suite that allows SMEs full supply chain integration with the capacity for B2B, B2G, and G2G document exchange, shipment visibility, and real-time data analysis in efficient and easy to use formats. The TFS was designed to handle both supply chain visibility and trade compliance by managing trade documentation in multiple languages, standard or customized, using a custom GUI. This solution provides an immediate impact on trade volume and support for trends in the growth of East-West trade. These impacts support private sector growth by increased access to the global supply chain, thereby creating new business opportunities and leading to healthy competition and positive pricing effects on national and international markets that create regional demand for skilled workers, counteracting the deleterious effects of brain drain. In order to ensure that a solution of this type can have the effect possible, the policy and regulatory environment must be such that innovative technologies are embraced by the public and private sector. Continued improvement in the logistics of trade facilitation is rooted in policy changes that promote innovation and embrace the global standards for trade. Innovation and competitiveness and their positive effects on economic growth are closely tied to the role of the institutions that promote them. Polices that reduce trade barriers, promote innovation and provide macroeconomic stabilization do not exert appropriate influence without quality domestic institutions ensuring that these policies have their intended effect in the private sector18. This notion has lasting impact as the private sector tends to mirror the Governments under which they operate, implying that their tendency to adopt innovative technologies is closely tied to the Governments will and ability to do so. Adoption of the TFS will create improvements in the business environment that will stimulate increased trade activity that result in sustainable economic growth, specifically through policies and programs that will attract investors in the goods and services to be traded and the movement of these goods and services through regional and global markets. This connection between trade and economic policies is an essential element in increasing cross border trade volume and sustainable profit maximization for SMEs.
Today and in the future the Navy / Marine Corps team faces severe challenges in order to successfully engage the mission requirements of the battlespace. Providing the infrastructure to support the CNO and CMC in operational capability is essential. The build up of capability, capacity, and readiness will require an integrated supply chain with interoperable data and document interchange capable of sustainability in cyber-security sensitive net-centric joint operations.
VI. TECHNICAL ISC INSIGHTS
The solution set described in this paper supports the DoD Net-Centric Data Strategy and can be a key enabler of the Department’s transformation by establishing a foundation for managing logistics data in a net-centric environment. Key attributes supportive of the DoD Strategy include:
- Providing battlespace data that is visible, accessible, understandable, and trustable (throughout the supply chain by providing data that can be validated. The data can be encrypted and decrypted to deny its use to threat organizations.) when needed and where needed to accelerate decision-making down to the last tactical mile.
- Providing metadata to enable discovery by known and unanticipated users in the Enterprise. Solutions should provide for the use of common documents and data definitions required during Joint and Combined Operations. Foreign languages can be accomplished using country codes and Unicode to generate documents of most known foreign countries required by each user to enable joint services utilization across Allied Forces.
- Posting of data to shared “Core, Common and Unique” spaces for users to access in the format and structure preferred enabling integration into existing decision support systems and data assets.
- The system should “post data before processing” (data can be made available on the net as soon as it is created / acquired) The technology enables “Last-Mile” integration of Automatic Identification & Data Collection (AIDC) technologies (RFID, FAX, Bar Code, Scanners, Sensors) to PDA and other ‘mobile’ client platforms. This data is then made available to the appropriate web server environment for capture and accessibility by the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) (CRM, MRP etc.) systems and their derivatives for increased partner collaboration to streamline supply chains as a competitive advantage.
Data Design Tenet ~ The design infrastructure of software tools should make data visible in “Core, Common and Unique” spaces for users to access in the format and structure preferred enabling integration into existing decision support systems and data assets. The anticipated systems will provide discovery metadata, in accordance with the DoD Discovery Metadata Standard (DDMS), for all data posted to shared spaces.
- Battlespace data that is slated to be visible data to shared Users and applications will in addition to retaining private data (e.g., data kept within system specific storage) have shared data available in community- and Enterpriseshared spaces (e.g., servers and services available on the Internet) which through the use of web services, XML and XSLT allows easy translation to many systems.
- All of the data that can and should be shared externally beyond the programmatic bounds of the individual service system will be visible (i.e., advertised) to all potential battlespace consumers of the data.
- The integrated SoS system makes its data assets visible to consumers through secure (HTTPS / SSL / Password & Authentication) access to specified URL locations.
- The application will be making use of Web services to expose its data in the form of collaborative reports that can contain both static and dynamic battlespace data. Available to authorized users through web site directories.
- The system makes use of Web service standards (e.g., SOAP [Simple Object Access Protocol], WSDL [Web Services Description Language], UDDI [Universal Description, Discovery and Integration]) to make its data assets visible. A transaction processing module should direct authorized users to appropriate web site (URL) locations containing the data elements sought in the specified format and presentation.
- The client software should maintain subscribe/notify mechanisms for the visible data and document assets sent and received within the program that alerts users and other applications when data has been created or updated.
- The programs should provides dynamic, flexible, and threat-tailorable solutions for exchanging data assets between different security domains (i.e., cross-domain) with flexibility to accommodate new operational needs with minimal impact on system and mission performance. DTD’s and XSD’s are used to customize the transmitted data and documents into the appropriate formats and web URL’s for access by the customers of the data and documents. By customizing the DTD’s and XSD’s, usually kept in DOD’s namespace, it makes it easy to change the look and feel of reports to fit operational requirements. These changes can be disseminated and implemented quickly.
Data Accessibility ~ Program should be client neutral and support standard presentation protocols. The user should be able to access the data from an application client, a Web portal, via Web services, access to a shared data storage area, and with XML (eXtensible Markup Language) tools.
Various client appliances (e.g., workstation, desktop, laptop, PDA [personal digital assistant]) can be used to populate and access required encrypted document and data assets.
Consumers of the data are determined by the tactical battlespace “Order of Battle” and added as required. Specific requirements (Language GUI, formats – Comma delimited, flat files, XML) of the users are independent of the reporting structure and user business (Logistics) logic. This flexible n-tier Logistics architecture should therefore reach down to the “Last Tactical Mile” of the battlespace since the data format has been isolated from the business logic and the access becomes web-based.
Security mechanisms used to restrict access to specific, visible data assets include access rights to the web portal where the data and documents are stored and in the HTTPS and certificate based mechanisms in place to protect the data in transit. This approach can be encapsulated with DOD Security requirements with little impact on performance.
Visible data assets are made available to other users outside the Community of Interest with a need for the data through authorized ID and password access to the portal and web services reports.
- The web-based publishing of data and documents to the Internet by the local entity with timestamps and verification of receipt provides assurance that there is timely and reliable access to data assets anytime, anywhere for authorized users/entities.
Understandable Data ~ The Integrated supply chain programs should document all of the data that can and should be shared externally beyond the programmatic bounds of service programs so that any potential consumer can comprehend the structural and semantic meaning to determine how they may use it appropriately
- Various client appliances use data translation capabilities such as XSD [XML Schema Definition] / DTD [Document Type Definition] “Drivers” to determine the ultimate formats of the data to be shared with multiple parties.
- The future battlespace solutions should include incorporating the use of the DoD Metadata Registry and Clearinghouse.
Trustable Data ~ Consumer can determine data asset quality through the infrastructure (Data is posted only by the source of the data (Veracity) ensuring the authoritative data source) and accessed only by those with proper authority. The use of digital signatures, token authentication and biometrics should be incorporated into this architecture as well.
Interoperable Data ~ The battlespace architecture should ensure that all of the data that can and should be shared externally beyond the programmatic bounds of service program can be presented in the format required by the consumer. New consumers can be added simply with the addition of appropriate XSDs which are downloaded in “Pallets” and imported into the client software.
Data Management ~ The management of the Logistics data available through service and contractor programs must meet standard DoD and industry accepted standards in order to maintain and improve data assets usage within a changing environment. Dod should continue to define, develop, and maintain an ontology (i.e., schemas, thesauruses, vocabularies, key word lists, and taxonomies) that best reflects the defense community understanding of the “visible data assets.” The Business Enterprise Architecture – Logistics (BEA-Log). The BEA-Log Data Strategy supports the realization of the Future Logistic Enterprise, working directly with DoD Services and Agencies while they modernize their logistics systems. It focuses on specific functional requirements, proving them, and then proliferating them to achieve speedy and cost-effective modernization. Supporting the BEA-Log Data Strategy will permit the Net-Centric Logistics Community to embark confidently on heretofore daunting tasks, such as seamless information exchange and data management. Solutions providers should register with BEA-Log and fully participate in the development, validation, and implementation of the DoD Future Logistic Enterprise Data Strategy. This approach will enable the BEA-Log to achieve true supply chain visibility both up and down stream.
I-2 Cross Functionality
The infrastructure solutions for the Navy has potential for cross functionality throughout DoD. The Logistics Domain in three business process areas entails a broad multifunctional interoperability. Incorporating the “Last Mile extension to DoD suppliers in “Managing the Supplier Base” as well as “Managing Inventories” within Joint and Allied Forces and then the “Managing material Movement” to the “Last Tactical Mile” in the battlespace emphasizes the development of Joint Capability and enterprise application integration. Information about Domain activity and crossfunctional processes and for transformation strategies was developed from the DoD Business Management Modernization Program (BMMP) website: http://www.dod.mil/comptroller/bmmp/pages/index.html.