SOA makes processing of recruits easier

The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command is an organization you don't hear much about, but it does a lot behind the scenes.

The command processes and qualifies individuals applying for military service and, as a result, must communicate with the military services' recruiting facilities, the FBI, state motor vehicle departments, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Social Security Administration and medical laboratories.

Headquartered near Chicago at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, the command's Military Information Resource System (MIRS) is accessed by 3,000 employees and 20,000 armed forces recruiters. It has 65 military entrance sites nationwide and 400 mobile testing sites.

A service-oriented architecture based on Oracle SOA, business process management and application development software has been instrumental in helping the command more efficiently exchange data with business partners.

A core component of the SOA architecture is the Oracle Service Bus, which connects and manages interactions between heterogeneous services, existing applications, packaged applications and multiple enterprise service bus instances across an enterprisewide service network.

For example, the SOA has accelerated Air Force Reserve recruiters' ability to access information.

The Air Force Reserve does not have liaisons at command facilities, said Tony Maravola, chief of acquisition initiatives at the command. In the past, Reserve recruiters had to call Air Force recruiters at the facilities to access MIRS if they wanted to check on a recruit's progress and data, he said. Sometimes this took two to three days. The command worked with the Air Force to build interfaces to MIRS. 'Now, any field recruiter in the Air Force Reserve can get a complete update of an individual's record within 30 seconds' from a laptop PC, he said.

The SOA has helped with the testing of an eSecurity program that uses biometrics to capture index finger and facial-recognition information so the command can maintain positive identification of individuals from the time they first come to a facility, said Kevin Moore, chief information officer.

'We use their biometrics to track them through the entire process, and at the very end, when they raise their hand to swear the oath to be enlisted into the armed forces, we have them sign their contract. We actually have them sign with their biometrics,' Moore said. This has been approved by the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, he said.

'It's one thing to say they are using biometrics, their index prints, to sign their documents as a legally binding signature,' Moore said. 'It's another if that IT solution provides additional efficiencies to business processes.'

In the past, the swearing-in officers had to sign every applicant's contract, he said. When a hundred people are sworn in at the same time, that can become difficult. Now, the swearing-in official can enter his or her biometrics once and sign all the contracts simultaneously, he said.

The next step is to give recruiters the ability to verify identities when they first meet prospective recruits. All they need is a laptop PC with a biometric device and they can immediately exchange data with MIRS, Moore said. The Navy now wants to test the eSecurity program, he said.

'The SOA makes it so much easier to have systems talk to each other and leverage work that someone has already done,' Moore said.

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