Army chief says Reserve automation program has hit its stride

Army chief says Reserve automation program has hit its stride

In terms of

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Army National Guard Bureau officials say the system that performs daily administrative, operations and training tasks has turned years of struggle into success.

In its third year as a redesigned program, the Reserve Component Automation System is 'ahead of schedule, in terms of functionality, and we're below the projected cost,' said Dennis L. Patrick, RCAS project manager for the National Guard Bureau. 'I'm very impressed with what they've been doing the past three years.'

The Guard and Reserve are buying 350-MHz Compaq Deskpro Pentium IIs with Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0, 64M of RAM, 6.4G hard drives, 17-inch monitors and 10/100-Mbps network interface cards through Boeing Co.'s RCAS contract, Patrick said.''

In addition to the PCs, subcontractor Federal Data Corp. of Bethesda, Md., is also buying Compaq ProLiant 3000 servers with 333-MHz Pentium II processors and 64M of RAM, and ProLiant 6000 servers with 400-MHz Pentium II processors and 128M of RAM, Patrick said. Patrick assumed his position in September after his predecessor, Col. Sammy Cowden, retired.

Congress has appropriated more than $1 billion for RCAS but saw much of it exhausted by the program's attempt to deploy minicomputers. Delays in application software development led to a $200 million budget shortfall, causing a program reorganization in 1995.

Almost all of the Guard and Reserve's 3,848 sites in 54 states and territories are connected to the GuardNet WAN, Patrick said.

Helps in crises

The RCAS hardware deployment will continue until 2002 under Boeing's indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.

RCAS helps citizen-soldiers carry out their missions more effectively, according to National Guard Bureau officials. Particularly effective is the National Guard, which assists states during and after natural catastrophes and other crises, and is a reserve component of the Army, officials said.

Using RCAS PCs, the Minnesota Guard cut the time it took to process orders from 60 days to two days during the state's floods about 18 months ago, Patrick said. And the Maine Guard reduced the time it took to publish orders from 25 days to four days during the state's ice storms two years ago, he said.''

Version 3.0 of the RCAS software suite includes Microsoft Office 97, Exchange 5.5 and Internet Explorer 4.0, as well as McAfee VirusScan 3.0 from Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., which the Guard and Reserve get for free through the Defense Information Systems Agency's antivirus software license.''

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