system to improve the way military services perform maintenance
A combination of human engineers, computer software
and hardware and communications gear will help technicians
and mechanics around the world keep warfighting equipment
up and running with a minimum amount of downtime.
Army Sgt. Jon Cupp
USJFCOM Public Affairs
Va. -- May 13, 2004) - U.S. Joint Forces Command
(USJFCOM)'s work on a new concept will increase efficiency
for the military services on the battlefields of
the future by shortening equipment downtime.
on improving the way all U.S. military services perform
maintenance in the field, USJFCOM personnel working
on the Joint Distance Support and Response (JDSR)
capability plan on establishing a common and interoperable
tele-maintenance and training environment.
environment will reduce the burden on maintenance
and training systems through lower infrastructure
costs and smaller logistics footprints as well as
reducing the maintainer workload and personnel requirements,
according to officials working on JDSR.
addition, the JDSR, one of USJFCOM's many Advanced
Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTD) initiatives,
promises to enhance operational unit readiness by
providing maintenance options for low density, high
demand assets such as major pieces of equipment to
include Apache (AH-64D) helicopters, tanks, and other
such as JDSR, provide new and transformational operational
capabilities designed to benefit the joint warfighter.
are sponsored by the deputy undersecretary of defense
for advanced systems and concepts and are sponsored
by all combatant commanders. USJFCOM has 14 ACTDs
in which the command refines requirements, develops
joint employment concepts of operation, and assesses
the transformational capabilities in a variety of
relevant operational venues.
involved in the JDSR said the capability can bring
the benefit of intermediate or depot level maintenance
support to the organizational level in a virtual
fashion. For instance, Marines using Army Bradley
Fighting vehicles can be mentored through a maintenance
procedure even if they only have a basic understanding
of the system. Army Apache helicopters can be repaired
by Navy technicians with the JDSR tool suite.
we're attempting to do is to give the maintainer
--whether the Marine working on a light armored vehicle
(LAV), the sailor on deck plates, the airman on a
flight line or the soldier in the field-the ability
to reach back to a subject-matter expert if he has
a maintenance problem,” said Doug Kelsey, JDSR
deputy operational manager.
(the JDSR is) a software and hardware system that
allows the maintainer to get assistance on his maintenance
problem by reaching back to whatever echelon he needs
which means he can go all the way back to the manufacturer
a combination of ruggedized laptops, personal digital
assistants (PDA) and using video cameras, a maintainer
can actually show his problem to a subject matter
expert even if he's halfway across the world,” added
can say, 'here's my problem,' put a video camera
on it and the subject matter expert can look at the
problem and then using voice chat, text chat and
streaming video provide a diagnosis and solution
to the problem. The subject matter expert can also
see the diagnostic readings that the maintainer might
be pulling up.”
JDSR works through a Web-based network and provides
a collaborative environment that includes information
profiling, wireless connectivity, 3D visualization
and other capabilities.
are linked to JDSR through a local maintenance network
server with landlines that can tie into the JDSRs
distribution gateway-a system of three separate servers
at three different remote sites. SATCOM satellites
also link maintainers into JDSR.
this joint system, each of the services have their
own way to link to JDSR through a local maintenance
network,” said Kelsey. “A Navy frigate
may use satellite. You may have Army and Marine Corps
personnel using SATCOM or they might be using a telephone
line/system so they can reach back using a number
of different ways.”
try to be redundant, because one system or mode of
communication may be down. Even if one system is
down, the maintainer can still reach back another
way,” added Kelsey.
PDAs, digital cameras and laptops, other JDSR elements
include wireless cards, SME directories and portable
to Kelsey the JDSR was designed to repair maintenance
problems that are not typical everyday repairs and
is something that will be vital for service members
who are currently deploying in support of the Global
War on Terror (GWOT).
guides maintainers through the hard and unusual problems;
this is not to help a lance corporal change the fuel
filter on a five ton truck,” said Kelsey. “JDSR
eases the maintainer workload and eases the personnel
requirement so it's important for a lot of different
reasons and of course this is for the high demand,
low density items.
intent is to deploy this with several units that
will be operating in theater very shortly,” said
Kelsey. “So instead of evacuating a vehicle
or piece of equipment and saying 'it's dead and there's
nothing we can do about it, we have to leave it here
until some other smart guy can fix it,' they can
wire back with JDSR, get the diagnosis and get that
thing back up and running for the joint task force
began as an ACTD in late 2002. The first operational
demonstration for the capability took place in July
of 2003 with the second operational demonstration
currently underway on a Norfolk-based frigate.
working on the JDSR have evaluated and demonstrated
the ACTD to U.S. military units throughout the world
including an Army National Guard helicopter unit
in Nevada, Marines at 29 Palms, a Navy frigate in
Mayport, Fla. and with U.S. Air Force units in Europe
to evaluate and demonstrate the ACTD's capabilities.
JDSR capability has been demonstrated for maintainers
of LAVs, helicopters, fighter and attack aircraft
and the Air Force's air traffic control and land
(radar) system (ATCLS), as well as other critical
third operational demonstration will take place in
August or September of 2004.
train the users and then have their units help us
to evaluate the system using real-world problems
or simulated problems as realistically as we can,” said
Kelsey. “We obviously don't want to go out
and break equipment just so we can fix it.”
want to push this out to the frontlines and it's
up to the services to see if they want to pursue
this,” added Kelsey. “But the indications
are that the military services do want this and they
have seen what it can do for their maintainers.”
personnel working with JDSR plan to have the capability
transitioned and in the hands of the warfighter by
fiscal year 2005. “We're working on our second
operational demonstration and we're pretty close
to the 80 percent solution now,” said Kelsey. “We
see this after a third operational demonstration
going into the extended user evaluation where units
out there will be using this on a daily basis probably
in the October (2004) timeframe.”
to JFCOM's ACTD program managers, new applications
for JDSR are being investigated at this time.
may have utility for tele-medicine on the battlefield.
Possible new applications include a combat medic's
ability to reach back to a medical facility for diagnosis
and even be talked through a complicated procedure
right there on the battlefield.
are also applications for tele-explosive ordnance
disposal (EOD) support. EOD personnel working with
unfamiliar devices can reach back to databases or
speak to other experts live while they are disabling
said he understands the importance of having a capability
that assists maintainers with difficult maintenance
problems in the field. “I was on that side
of the fence once before, I served 20 years in the
Army and I've had my headaches with broken equipment
and wondered why can't we fix this a little faster
and a little better,” said Kelsey.
having been there makes me feel good that I can still
provide some support to the warfighter."