The Wireless Marine
Anyone will tell you that the United States Marine Corps is no typical enterprise. At least not until the typical enterprise storms its competition in amphibious landing craft, missile-laden helicopters, and personnel carriers.
To get their far-from-common job done, the Marines need to do some rather mundane things, like tracking supplies and equipment. Every tank, munition, first-aid kit, and food ration must be accounted for at all times and often in the heat of battle. To do this, the Marines rely on some highly mobile wireless technology. This technology has already been field-tested in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, helping to ensure that troops always have what they need.
The Marines are the most mobile of the armed forces. Some units stay at sea for months on end; others can mobilize quickly from bases in the U.S. and overseas. Either way, Marines travel with all the gear they need for combat. "When a unit deploys, it takes everything it needs for 60 days," says Captain Gary Clement, a project officer at the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia.
To track all this equipment, wireless networks and handhelds go out with the troops. Designed to be set up in the field, the tracking system "gives us total asset visibility," Clement boasts. "Commanders get a view of exactly what equipment they have on hand. They know what their capability is at all times." With real-time inventory data, commanders always know which missions they can support.
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