Guri Glass | Army installations move to the Web

Interview with Guri Glass, project officer for the Installation Management Systems-Army

What's more

Age: 51

Family: Married, Wayne and stepdaughter and grandson

Book she reads all the time: The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

Hobbies: Likes to spend time with her grandson and walk and bike

Current Car: Lexus

Guri Glass, Army's facility facilitator

Every Army recruit and every soldier leaving the Army for civilian life has had their information processed on a computer network that Guri Glass oversees.

Glass, the project officer for the Installation Management Systems-Army, is charged with IT systems that improve efficiency while standardizing everyday functional processes. Systems under her control include a tool that manages the processing of soldiers as they enter or leave the Army, and an automated program that tracks and reports hazardous substances on Army installations.

Before heading Army Management Systems, a program in the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, Glass was acting project manager for sustaining base automation programs at PEO EIS. Before that, she was deputy product manager of U.S. Southern Command's Counternarcotics Command and Management System.

For most of her career, Glass worked as an acquisition manager on top Defense and Army IT acquisitions. She is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps and is certified at Level III (senior) in program management and communication-computer systems.

Glass earned a bachelor's degree in management information science from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. She is also a graduate of the Program Management College and the Executive Program Management Course from the Defense Acquisition University.

GCN senior writer Dawn S. Onley interviewed Glass via e-mail and phone.

GCN: Describe your role with the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.

Glass: I'm the project manager for the Army Installation Management Systems, and they consist of about four different systems. I also just recently picked up being the program manager for MEPCOM [U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command]. The Army Installation Management Systems comprise the Installation Support Modules, Range Facility Management Support System, Hazardous Substance Management System and Automated Instructional Management System-Personal Computer programs.

GCN: How big is your staff? Where are they located?

Glass: I have a staff in my immediate office, which consists of myself and three other government employees. I supervise about 20 contractors in Fort Belvoir, Va. I also have contracting support in Fairfax and Manassas, Va. There are approximately 30 contractors who support me there. There's a large group of people, government and contractors, that support me at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., at the CONUS [continental United States] theater network operations security center. They do all my centralized management of all of my systems.

GCN: Discuss each of the four systems and what missions they serve.

Glass: The Installation Support Modules consist of numerous applications, such as in-and-out processing, transition processing, an education management information system, personnel locator and central issue facility. We are on schedule to complete Webification of the Installation Support Modules system by Oct. 1.

The second system under my control is the Range Facility Management Support System. RFMSS is one that's not only used by the Army active components, but also Army National Guard and Reserve. It's pseudo-joint, because the Marine Corps also uses our apps. It is an application that is used to schedule and manage firing ranges and training areas. It assists installation commanders in scheduling and managing firing ranges and training areas. RFMSS allows units to reserve range and training area as-sets as much as two years in advance.

The Hazardous Substance Management System is an automated management information system for tracking and reporting hazardous substances on Army installations from procurement through disposal. It's at probably 35 Army installations and it tracks hazardous substances from cradle to grave'paints, oils, chemical substances.

Lastly, the Automated Instructional Management System-Personal Computer program is another system designed and developed by this office and used heavily by the Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va. It automates course management, scheduling of classes.

GCN: What are the benefits of moving the Installation Support Modules to the Web?

Glass: The biggest advantage of going to the Web is we will have total asset visibility. We will have a central database that will house all information on soldiers. At the present time, each one of the posts, camps and installations has their own separate databases for each one of those apps. The two servers will be replicating themselves. Anytime there is a transaction on the East Coast server, it will replicate updates on the West Coast server.

Webification of the ISM system reduces the automation footprint on the installation while it provides total asset visibility for commanders and managers. The Web-based solution provides for enhanced security of data and a more robust system performance and availability. The system is more user-friendly than its character-based predecessor.

GCN: What are some of the software and hardware systems you use in the Installation Management Systems-Army?

Glass: The modernized Installation Support Modules system operates on SUN V200 Web application servers and SunFire V880 database servers. The system has a Solaris operating system and Oracle as its relational database.

The RFMSS system utilizes Microsoft Windows 2000 as its operating system and Oracle as its relational database. Both Hewlett-Packard and Dell servers are in the RFMSS hardware inventory.

HSMS also operates on Dell and HP servers utilizing Windows 2000 operating system and Oracle as its relational database.

AIMS-PC utilizes IBM H-80 servers. AIMs-PC has AIX as its operating system and an Oracle relational database.

GCN: What is your office's budget?

Glass: The annual budget to support the IMA-S systems has held steady at approximately $13M for the past 5 years.

GCN: What is your role with MEPCOM?

Glass: I'm going to be modernizing its IT system, which is called the Virtual Interactive Processing System (VIPS). We're going to look at the present system and the shortfalls of their legacy system, support their re-engineering, meet their new requirements of processing a new man or woman from civilian life.

It's a joint program. It will have Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. I'm working very closely with the MEPCOM community through milestones. This is a system that will be used at recruiting stations. That is the system that I will be upgrading.

GCN: Are any of your systems being used in Afghanistan and/or Iraq?

Glass: The IMS-A systems are not currently being used in Afghanistan or Iraq. However, we understand the authorities in Iraq have established a Central Issue Facility to issue replacement organizational clothing and individual equipment items to soldiers in Iraq. We anticipate they may start using the ISM Central Issue Facility software ap-plication once it goes online this fall as a Web application.

We are scheduled to field RFMSS to Kuwait in September. We are waiting for them to complete their new operations facility.

GCN: What have been some of the biggest challenges of modernizing the Installation Management Systems? Any successes?

Glass: The biggest challenge we faced as we modernized the ISM system centered on the migration of data from 54 standalone databases to one centralized Armywide database. For example, we found that one installation might code a particular item of organization clothing as XXX while another installation coded the same item as AAA. It took a great deal of time and effort to clean up the local databases before we consolidated them in one Army wide database.

Our greatest success was when we be- came operational with the Webified system and discovered that our users were pleased with our product.

GCN: What were the lessons learned from that migration?

Glass: 1. Start the notification process early. Coordinate directly with the installation's users and their chain of command.

2. Obtain chain-of-command emphasis on cleaning up the bad data in the legacy database.

3. Freeze the legacy database so no new items can be added.

4. Be flexible'the migration schedule must accommodate the installation commander's operational requirements.


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