The Other Information War FusionNet Harnesses Networking and Collaboration Techno logies to Win Hearts and Minds by Lane F. Cooper Military experts have often said "An army marches on its stomach" to emphasize the importance of logistics in a theater of operation. While the saying remains true, a CC Intelligent Solutions new aphorism is evolving that goes something like this: "Bullets kill the enemy, but (CCIS), founded in 2001, is a premium provider of information wins the peace." IT solutions for clients in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil government, and This notion reflects the new realities warfighters more effective collaboration and information commercial sectors. face today as they deal with extended and sharing throughout the military. Headquartered in rotating tours of duty in which the business of Raleigh, North Carolina, Designed and developed by Raleigh, North maintaining good local relationships and CCIS has 75 employees. Carolina–based CC Intelligent Solutions, a building solid institutions is every bit as It also has in the Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, FusionNet is important as ensuring the security of troops and Washington, D.C. area, a distributed system that disseminates “ground allies. The non-combat aspect of the mission at Ft. Bragg, North truth” intelligence and unit management highlights the importance of comprehensive Carolina, and a global information throughout the battlespace. The information management in the "battlespace" as presence in multiple solution is built with Microsoft.NET software, a critical part of a winning strategy. operational military SharePoint® Products and Technologies, and theaters. That is what makes the FusionNet initiative SQL Server™. It also represents one of the first being deployed by the U.S. Army's 82nd military deployments of Microsoft Office Forms Airborne units in Iraq and Afghanistan so Server 2007, which helps military teams interesting. FusionNet is associated with the centrally publish and manage electronic forms. Horizontal Fusion program This allows team members in the field to access (http://horizontalfusion.dtic.mil), which was forms and complete them using a Web browser. established after the 9/11 attacks to encourage Because forms based on InfoPath Forms Services support industry-standard XML, promises were made during that the information collected in these forms meeting," explains Moye. "If, for instance, can then be reused among military units we promised that the next time a unit and across operational processes rolls through they will dig a well, it is important for the next team that comes What makes the FusionNet system through to dig that well." different from most command, control, communications, computers, and Prior to FusionNet, there was no intelligence (called “C4I”) initiatives is that systematic and automated it extends beyond tactical combat and enterprisewide process for keeping track combat support operations to provide unit of all these notes and commitments. Unit commanders with a comprehensive clerks traditionally maintained much of "dashboard" of information that also this information on homegrown features spot reports and analysis on databases and spreadsheets. The local political, economic, and social information was not automatically issues that may affect the unit's mission. connected or integrated in any meaningful way to the C4I systems that "In Afghanistan, for instance, the army set strategic priorities and issue marching has a pretty drastic need for a orders. This contributed to confusion, management system that tracks the missed expectations and often status of provincial reconstruction undermined goodwill efforts with local teams," explains David Moye, Chief citizenry. Technology Officer with CC Intelligent Solutions. "This includes civil affairs "FusionNet augments [more traditional operations, which entails managing visits C4I systems] and replaces the from foreign leaders or other high-ranking homegrown solutions to create a officials who come to meet with village cohesive system that works together so officials, as well as tasks like … providing that there is a current and complete meals for people." perspective on what is happening in the battlespace," says Moye. FusionNet also makes it possible for the U.S. military to live up to commitments it The ability to quickly create forms that makes to local leaders, even as new capture new types of information in ways units and personnel rotate in to manage that can be quickly categorized, viewed, a territory over extended periods. accessed, and managed by other decision makers throughout the chain of "Often a unit will pass through a village command helps make the and meet with the local leaders to accomplishment of a complex array of determine regional needs. It is important missions a more efficient process. to have an easy-to-use and accessible record of what was discussed and what Learn more about CC Besides keeping track of long-term develop new data forms and get them Intelligent Solutions at: trends, FusionNet accelerates the distributed to all systems. www.ccis-inc.com process of entering and updating "It used to take us a couple of weeks to relevant databases throughout the develop a novel form and get it tested command. This is no easy and deployed, and now it only takes accomplishment when you consider the about a day to get that form to the users conditions under which local-area and who so desperately need it," Moye says. wide-area data networks must operate in low-intensity to mid-intensity conflict This contributes greatly to both tactical zones. Between the difficult terrain and and strategic intelligence insights. For periodically hostile situations in which instance, a commander that is planning a information must be gathered and patrol or organizing a convoy now has maintained, it is typical for units in the access to much more current information. field to experience high rates of packet Moreover, the comprehensive nature of loss and network delays that interrupt the information available via the data transmissions or that corrupt the SharePoint portals offers a broader integrity of data. context against which to determine the risks of a mission. FusionNet uses technology that takes advantage of whatever connectivity is The result: FusionNet offers a common available at any given point in time to infrastructure used to manage day-to-day update, as quickly as possible, operations better than before. "In SharePoint® sites and SQL Server general, the units in the field are able to databases that are in use by other units accomplish more of their mission. They and/or strategic planners. now have access to all of the pieces they need to see in order to engage in good "Speed is important in all aspects of unit management. They are in a position warfare. FusionNet has accelerated the to ensure unit readiness by tracking ability to keep all systems up to date training records of troops, access through automation and standardization. intelligence reports, and better With applications where it used to take a understand local developments on a couple of weeks for a manual update of a single system," says Moye. data form to all systems, updates now occur automatically in a day. This allows military units to be a lot more responsive and a lot more likely to make better decisions about what needs to be done," says Moye. It also takes a lot less time now to This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published: "click and type month and year here"
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