|Makeshift and disarrayed remote area logistics yard|
As announced in a recent press release, Lockheed Martin has been awarded work by the U.S. Army’s Product Manager, Joint-Automatic Identification Technology organization to provide operations and maintenance for the Radio Frequency In-Transit Visibility system (RF-ITV). If all options are exercised over the course of five years, the contract is valued at $126 million.
In-Transit Visibility (ITV) is a capability that uses Radio Frequency (RF)/Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) and is designed to provide the logistics customer with maximum visibility and near real-time status on the movement of all classes of supply. By using ITV, logistics customer may identify, locate, and track the movement of all classes of supply from source of supply to user.
ITV is the fusion of logistics information and distribution technologies for rapid crisis response, deployment and sustainment, and it provides decision makers at all levels of command and throughout the logistics pipeline with accurate, near real-time data to collaboratively plan, prioritize and redirect logistics operations.
The RF-ITV system is a mission essential information system that supports U.S. Joint Warfighter operations, which used Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices to support the dissemination of In-Transit Visibility (ITV) information. RFID technology provides a powerful potential to the enhancement of using automated information systems to see the last location of the unit´s asset.
RF-ITV sites exist worldwide in support of combatant commands, making this a massive and complex effort since sites must be maintained at optimal levels of operational readiness to support joint forces. Through RF-ITV technology the system provides last known locations and in-the-container visibility for shipments that have active RF tags attached to pallets, containers, or equipment. Specifically, by using RF tags, the RF-ITV system traces the identity, status, and location of cargo from origin (depot or vendor) to destination. It also receives near real-time position reports for conveyances from numerous Satellite Tracking Systems (STS). Data from these two technologies is combined, processed, and accessed via web-based maps and reports, and provides global, logistics support to the Joint warfighter.
The scope of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) infrastructure includes four business process servers, strategically positioned globally to mitigate communication limitations. There are in excess of 2400 nodal read and write sites located in 30 countries worldwide. Locations include, but are not limited to, the United States, Great Britain, Republic of Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Luxemburg, Belgium, Norway, Netherlands, Qatar, Bahrain, Djibouti, Spain, Korea, Japan, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Greece, Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Italy.
By accessing the system with a Common Access Card (CAC), users can log on to the RF-ITV Tracking Portal, the user interface to the ITV server that provides ITV information on in-transit shipments.
RFID is a transformational technology which plays a vital role in achieving the DOD vision for implementing knowledge-enabled logistic support to the warfighter through fully automated visibility and management of assets.
The RFID technology application of asset tagging for in-transit visibility has been in use by the DOD for over a decade. Tangible benefits for the U.S. DoD´s implementation of the RFID technology include improved asset visibility, enhanced shipment processing timeliness and accuracy, plus increased reliability in the vendor payment system. With benefits, however, come problems. Security is a major concern for RFID technology. Tags that are readable anywhere, anytime pose a risk to corporate and military security. Accuracy of information is another concern.
Currently, RF-ITV is a fielded capability that provides support to Commanders and logisticians in all branches of U.S. armed forces, NATO, and U.S. Coalition Partners, and it is the only DoD-approved system that provides in-transit visibility beyond the Theater Distribution Center (TDC).
Data from the RF-ITV system supports many high profile systems (i.e., Global Transportation Network (GTN), Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3), DLA Asset Visibility (DLA AV)) and supports over 30 existing Joint and one Coalition, inbound and outbound, interface customers.
The Radio Frequency In-Transit Visibility system is managed by U.S. Army's Joint-Automatic Identification Technology (J-AIT), which operates as the U.S. DoD procurement activity for AIT and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
“With the Government’s and Lockheed Martin’s focus on affordability, the RF-ITV system is critical to manage military shipments such as cargo, supplies, and unit movement,” said DeEtte Gray, Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense vice president for Enterprise IT Solutions. “The Lockheed Martin team is proud to support the Army’s efforts to prioritize, organize, and track assets.”
References: Lockheed Martin (1), U.S. Army PEO EIS (2), JITC (3), PM J-AIT (4), U.S. Army CASCOM (5), Bowie State University (6), Defense Industry Daily (7)