The idea of sustaining mature software systems may seem mundane and less important than the acquisition and development of new systems. However the Standard Army Maintenance System-Enhanced is proof that a sustainment management mission is critical to the Army’s operational readiness as well as an active, challenging and evolving process essential to ongoing modernization initiatives.

SAMS-E is the key maintenance component of the Army’s Logistics Information Technology systems. It provides Warfighters around the world with automated management of equipment maintenance on everything from M-16 rifles to aircraft.

Soldiers use SAMS-E to track asset and equipment life, order parts, interface with related logistics systems and much more. SAMS-E users can compile equipment readiness reports to provide operational command and control support to Army and Joint leadership. The system also enables effective Force and Fleet sustainment operations at the national level through consolidated equipment maintenance data.

As the designated sustainment manager for SAMS-E, the men and women of the Army’s Communications-Electronics Command’s Software Engineering Center, Tactical Logistics Directorate, based at Fort Lee, Va., are not just writing abstract lines of code"they are helping ensure U.S. Soldiers have the best equipment possible where and when they need it.

Effective solutions for the end of a system’s life-cycle
SEC-Lee TLD assumed responsibility for the SAMS-E system in 2009 from the Program Manager-Logistics Information Systems. At that time, SAMS-E was already slated to be replaced in phases by the Global Combat Support System-Army enterprise solution
from 2012 through 2014. With SAMS-E serving as a bridging system to GCSS-Army, SEC-Lee TLD faces the challenge of avoiding a capability gap between the two systems and ensuring they can co-exist during the two-year transition timeline.

“Combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations around the world mean warfighters continue to request new and improved SAMS-E capabilities to support their missions,” said Ricky Daniels, director of SEC-Lee TLD. “In addition, SAMS-E must keep pace with the latest doctrinal, technical and information assurance requirements. The SAMS-E team cannot just maintain the status quo.”

The SAMS-E system manager works closely with Combined Army Support Command representatives to review and validate new requirements and continue to upgrade SAMS-E accordingly.

A new interim change package is about to begin testing and verification and is planned for release in the second quarter of 2011. This update is comprised of 25 items, including migration to the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition. This improvement will significantly increase efficiency and provide improved support for handheld peripherals. Two more updates are also planned for later this year on a very compressed development timeline in order to fulfill customer requests.

Even the distribution of the SAMS-E updates has been streamlined. For example, instead of receiving the updates on a standalone disk, they will be incorporated into a release image disk along with other required security and operating system updates.

This will reduce the installation time for each machine from around 12 hours to two hours.

SEC-Lee TLD is also coordinating ongoing life cycle replacement of SAMS-E hardware for tactical and installation users, with approximately 1,900 new computers scheduled to
replace outdated models by the end of 2011.

Customized assistance and support
In addition to software upgrades, SEC-Lee TLD offers a wide range of customer support services to SAMS-E users.

While SAMS-E was already fully fielded to tactical units when SEC-Lee TLD assumed responsibility in 2009, the directorate is fielding an installation version called SAMSIE. This replaces a variety of legacy maintenance systems at Army installations around the world and requires a degree of customization for each location.

SEC-Lee TLD conducts site surveys, testing and assessment in close collaboration with the installation personnel to plan each transition. When needed, they send customer assistance teams to provide on-site training and support. Whether an installation requires SAMS-E database analysts on-site to ensure data integrity or several weeks of “over-the-shoulder” training for end users, SEC-Lee TLD will pull together experts from
their fielding team, field service representatives and the software developer to deliver the necessary support, resolve problems or ensure a smooth transition.

Meeting the challenges of software sustainment
Taking on the role of sustainment manager for a transitioning software development acquisition program or one nearing the end of its life cycle can be a highly complex process. Software systems will continue to evolve, and they must be maintained functionally and technically until they are completely displaced by the new system.

“SEC-Lee TLD’s ongoing success with the SAMS-E system exemplifies our technical excellence and commitment to our customers,” said Ned Keeler, SEC director. “The Army’s warfighting superiority depends on operational readiness, which SEC-Lee TLD enables with SAMS-E.”

As the Army’s premier software organization, SEC has the necessary resources, expert personnel and knowledge base needed to meet these challenges.

Page last updated Thu July 21st, 2011 at 15:08