More Promising Practices in Wireless

GCN editors received more than 50 submissions from federal, state and local agencies describing their various wireless projects. In addition to the Defense Communications Systems-Pacific, Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Joint Futures Laboratory, the following seven agencies were recognized for their promising practices. GCN will again honor best practices in IT at its upcoming Data Lifecycle Management Conference, Oct. 11-12 in Washington. For more information, visit

Agency: Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
Promising practice: The Theater Medical Information Program office's Battlefield Medical Information System-Tactical is a mobile application ready to exploit wireless communications. Currently, more than 5,000 handheld devices are in the field, letting medics access information and create medical records for warfighters.

Agency: Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems
Promising practice: During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Army logisticians were outfitted with very small aperture terminals to help rapidly set up supply chains. The 11Mbps terminals exploited IP-based satellite communications for voice and data, including text messaging and online collaboration software.

Agency: Defense Manpower Data Center
Promising practice: The Defense Biometric Identification System controls access to military facilities. Gate guards carry wireless handheld devices that can scan ID cards and facilitate a fingerprint check. Data is downloaded to the guard post so the system can work in the event part of the network goes down.

Agency: Energy Department
Promising practice: Lockheed Martin IT has constructed a wireless hot spot for the 560-square-mile Hanford Site that Energy is cleaning up in Washington state. The network uses 802.11a/b communications, augmented by Sprint CDMA voice and data service to fill in coverage gaps.

Agency: Florida State Technology Office
Promising practice: To provide a statewide, turnkey wireless data network, Florida contracted with several service providers so state agencies could tailor wireless programs to fit their needs. Regardless of carrier, the data service uses a client virtual private network to encrypt communications. After authentication, a policy is pushed out to the device to control access and allow for monitoring.

Agency: Postal Service
Promising practice: USPS deployed BlackBerry handhelds to more than 4,900 managers and employees for accessing e-mail, the USPS intranet and a handful of agency applications, including eTravel, eBuy and the Postal Emergency Management System.

Agency: Roanoke, Va.
Promising practice: Like other cities around the nation, Roanoke has embraced wireless as a way of providing better service and appealing to the public. In 2004, it expanded its free public WiFi coverage and completed deployment of access points throughout municipal buildings. Using smart phones, it has started a Trash Container Inventory System for tracking containers and it recently began piloting Code Division Multiple Access cards in laptops for fire and police personnel.

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