The U.S. Army Research Laboratory‘s Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate has fostered closer teaming across the Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injury in Combat program by designing a customized software system that integrates a digital library, a management tool for requests for information and other unique resources.
This system is vital to the JTAPIC program’s fulfilling its mission of protecting the Warfighter from traumatic combat injuries.
The customized software system known as the Distributed Incident Collaborative Environment, or DICE, integrates a digital library, a management tool for requests for information, as well as other unique resources to help protect the Warfighter from traumatic combat injuries.
DICE, which is the JTAPIC program’s online presence, was designed by ARL to help manage data and information for the day-to-day implementation of the program and to provide a virtual environment for communication and resource-sharing among JTAPIC partners and other government users.
SLAD personnel from the Warfighter Survivability Branch not only create JTAPIC products, but also develop and test the software for such products’ management and distribution. Sixty-five percent of the software application code was developed by SLAD and the rest is leveraged from open-source projects.
“One of our primary missions at SLAD is vulnerability analysis,” said Pat Gillich, ARL researcher.
“The JTAPIC program was developed to leverage the knowledge and expertise across the DOD to understand the vulnerabilities being witnessed in theater and to prevent and mitigate them for the individual soldier.”
Gillich said DICE is critical for customers in the DOD to obtain access to JTAPIC to receive actionable analysis to answer soldier survivability questions from the field. He also said the DICE software and all JTAPIC analyses are fully funded by the program.
Customers within the DOD use DICE to search current JTAPIC products, as well as formulate requests for new analysis of medical, materiel, operational and intelligence information. DICE’s RFI management system handles online requests and responses for new JTAPIC products. It queries customers to identify how the analysis information will be used, who will benefit and how actionable it is. The answers to these questions help the JTAPIC team prioritize the requests.
“We collect as many details as possible,” said Gillich. “The bigger the impact the product will have, the more effort and resources we may allocate to completing it.”
DICE’s users include project managers, analysts and engineers from the Maneuver Center of Excellence, the National Ground Intelligence Center, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, the Army Test and Evaluation Command, and the Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation.
The RMS is powered by Redmine, an open-source, web-based project management tool, which Gillich said, serves the JTAPIC program well because it’s highly customizable and configurable.
SLAD’s developers created an RFI lifecycle tracker to follow every stage of developing a response to an RFI in real time. Gillich said that everyone who works on the RFI uses this tracker to keep the RFI on schedule as it moves through the stages of planning, data gathering and validation, analysis and review and product delivery.
“This system has basic project management features that define work-breakdown structures, manpower allocation and scheduling that have been optimized for the business process of the JTAPIC program,” said Gillich. “Another DICE application is the digital library, modeled from an existing system called PubMed and enhanced with an Amazon-like rating feature. It is a repository for abstracts and documents and has a search capability.
“For example, a user can type ‘body armor’ in the search bar and it will list all relevant JTAPIC products and make them available for downloading directly from the system. Clicking on a product returns an abstract, associated photo and metadata tags. The system allows users to request the full product. Representative products have such titles as Analysis of Combat Evidence, Review of OEF Combat Gunshot Wounds, Stryker Double V-Hull Crosswalk to LFT&E and Recommendations for Dismounted Troop Spacing.”
The digital library’s rating system is designed to capture the user’s opinions of the product.
“We are always interested in hearing feedback on our analysis from the DOD community,” said Gillich. “The system keeps track of the users and customers so we can see who is making requests, who is downloading the products and how much time they are spending using the system. We keep these statistics in order to improve the system and better serve our customers.”
Before DICE, products were developed and distributed by phone and email.
“Due to the critical nature of our work for the Warfighter, the RFI process must be as highly coordinated as it is accurate,” said Gillich. “Requesting information does not mean just throwing data over the wall. The analysts are the experts, and very knowledgeable about the specific data sets they own and interact with.”
“We utilize our analytical capabilities and the DICE software applications to respond to our customers’ specific needs with confidence and quality.”
Other benefits of the system include access to the Combat Evidence Database, the online repository for images, physical attributes, and metallurgy from autopsies, vehicle forensics, and experimentation; VisualAID, a tool that displays injury data directly on the human anatomy to classify and study combat injuries; as well as the Data Management Tool, which manages knowledge and data-artifacts for sharing and archiving.
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