September 13, 2013
Sometimes an initiative comes along that causes me to perk up and declare, “wait, you mean they weren’t doing that already?” That is my response to Slashdot‘s article, “Navy Version of ‘Expedia’ to Save DOD Millions.” I know, I should no longer be surprised by the gross inefficiency of large bureaucracies.
The set of bureaucracies that makes up our military, though, is taking a welcome step toward efficiency with this project being tested by the Office of Naval Research. The system would use “an Expedia-like” search to correlate freight and personnel travel needs with open slots worldwide. Writer Kevin Fogarty reports:
“The Transportation Exploitation Tool (TET) is a little more sophisticated than online-travel sites such as Expedia or Travelocity were in 1996: The system consolidates travel schedules and capacity reports for both military and civilian carriers to give logistics planners a choice of open spaces in ships, planes, trucks, trains or other means of travel, along with information about cost, estimated time of arrival and recommendations of the most efficient route. Previously, logistics planners trying to get an engine part to a Navy ship stranded in a foreign port, for example, might spend hours or days looking through separate databases to find a ship or plane able to carry the part that could deliver it within a limited window of time.”
Though it has taken our government seventeen years to take advantage of this technology, I suppose the fact that they finally are is worth celebrating. The TET system is part of the Logistics Information Technology(LogIT) project, which aims to combine information “from separate systems for travel planning, asset tagging, tracking, location, monitoring and analysis of travel options into a single interface.” Logic is a beautiful thing!
The article includes a few details about how the system will work, as well as expectations for the project’s impact. See the article for more information about this belated but important initiative.
Cynthia Murrell, September 13, 2013