Better, faster data has clear rewards

KEY PLAYERs: The MERIT team includes, seated, Pam Dervan and Moore; standing from left, Tami Routhier, Bill Robinson, Ray Nelson, Maj. Bill Vinyard, Michelle Polk, Brad Pangle, Ted Kuusisto, Darrell Waters, Chief Warrant Officer Chris Peterson and Capt. Marvin Norcross.

Todd Stone

In a situation as fluid as Iraq, the flow of information is critical to support not just troops in the field, but the command structure that makes decisions about deployment.

Marines using the Marine Corps Equipment Readiness Information Tool system say the burden of reporting readiness to the chain of command has eased tremendously.

'We were reporting readiness on a weekly basis,' said Darrell Waters, a civilian employee on the MERIT team. 'Then we went to five days a week. Then we were able to go in and change the legacy mainframe systems to report readiness seven days a week.'

It's more than the freshness of the information that lightens the load. Access to MERIT is not limited to logistics specialists.

Central Command in Iraq has demanded regular updates of Marine Corps readiness reports.

'Our forces went to CentCom and said, 'Instead of our coming to you and telling you about our readiness every week, you can just get into the system yourself. We'll give you a log-in,' ' said Maj. Keith Moore. 'Now we don't have to go to 'the top of the hill' as often as the Army or the Navy.'

And there's another benefit: Quality of the data has improved.

'Now the private that's entering the information late at night ... he knows his captain is going to see it, his battalion commander is going to see it,' Moore said.

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