Off-the-shelf apps fine-tune operations, save money

Off-the-shelf apps fine-tune operations, save money<@VM>Stats at a Glance

Programs from Smart Base project help Navy with emergency efforts, data management, networks

By Bill Murray
GCN Staff

The Naval District'Washington has used only part of the capability of its public safety system, operations director Russ Duke says.

Through a $24 million program, Navy officials for the past three years have been implementing commercial applications at shore facilities to improve readiness and efficiency.

The Smart Base Project Office began three years ago as a National Performance Review Reinvention Laboratory, and applications have included bar coding for materiel delivery notification, emergency computer-aided dispatch, document management, videoconferencing and other applications.

'We're not doing R&D. We're trying to get things that are off-the-shelf and apply them to the Navy,'' said Capt. Dick Lohrmann, Navy Smart Base project manager, who retired late last month. Navy officials estimate that Smart Base will help the service save $197 million over seven years.

Sure, if it's free

'In the early days, [Navy officials] would say, 'I like this idea, but if it's going to cost me anything, I can't do it,' ' Lohrmann said. But an average annual budget of $8 million during the past three years had helped the project office fund initiatives at several sites.

Envisioned initially as a two-year project, Smart Base has proven its worthiness for multiyear funding, he said.

'Partnering with Smart Base, we've doubled what they've contributed,'' said Russ Duke, operations director at the Naval District'Washington, which has bought products and services through the Navy Installation Management/ Facilities Computer-Aided Design 2 contract held by Intergraph Corp. of Huntsville, Ala., to create a public safety system.

'I don't think we could have done it without Smart Base,'' he said.

With Global Positioning System receivers, NDW dispatchers track calls on an Intergraph geographic information system for civil emergency preparations, police, fire, rescue and nature disasters or manmade catastrophes.

The system replaced a telephone and radio system that gave emergency response teams very limited reception within buildings, Duke said.

Two displays for an Intergraph Pentium II PC running Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 feature event and mapping data, Duke said. Separately, the system ties in radio system control and alarm system reports.

'We're testing and prototyping an integrated system with alarms, security, video surveillance, radio systems, GPS and mapping systems,'' he said.

Naval Air Station Brunswick officials found they had no WAN to cover their base, for example, so they deployed a Cisco 7000 router from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., and a fiber-optic network through a Smart Base project, Lohrmann said. They upgraded 23 networks to Windows NT Server 4.0 and also made their 2,000 users compliant with the Navy's Information Technology for the 21st Century standards by using Microsoft Office 97 Suite.

NASB officials improved their ability to connect remotely, manage documents and eliminate some paper documents, Lohrmann said, by using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01, JetForm 5.1 client from JetForm Corp. of Ottawa and JetForm FormFlow99 client, as well as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Which acrobat?

Storing documents that are rarely changed and have little historic value in Adobe Portable Document Format lets NASB users access them with a browser or Adobe Acrobat Reader, Lohrmann said.

Documents of higher value that are used more often can have fillable templates in Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat 4.0.

Through Smart Base, Navy officials have also installed asynchronous transfer mode backbones at five regional hubs as a foundation for hosting the Navy's N.500 directory service, Lohrmann said.

More Smart Base information is available at


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