By Josh Davidson, PEO C3T MilTech Solutions OfficeSeptember 1, 2009
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Since its inception more than a year ago, milWiki has surpassed more than 37,000 users, 10,000 pages, and 4,000 individual articles and remains under pilot to become a centralized point for updating Army field manual doctrine.
Now, it is the recipient of the top Army award for knowledge management.
MilWiki received a Category III: Technology Dimension Army Knowledge Management Award from Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army's Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6, at the LandWarNet Conference on Aug. 20 at the Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Wikis offer a great new way to get accurate and updated documents to the force more quickly," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, during his closing LandWarNet speech just prior to the awards presentation.
In June, the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC), at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., launched a test that allowed Soldiers and leaders to make real-time updates to the Army's tactics, techniques and procedures (ATTP) via milWiki to seven field manuals. Eventually, as many as 250 manuals will be available for comment.
With the CAC effort, wikis could virtually turn the three-to-five-year process for staffing and updating field manuals into real time, where knowledge can be shared as soon as it is entered. By using these wikis, any individual with access to the manual can immediately update each of its sections.
Potential exists for wikis to have a further impact to the tactical environment in the future, said Emerson Keslar, director of the Program Executive Office, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), MilTech Solutions Office. As tactics are changed rapidly on the battlefield, wikis could make it easier for units to access up-to-date documentation.
"The advantage of a wiki is that you can evolve your documentation very quickly based on what is occurring," Keslar said.
MilWiki is proving to be an easy and efficient way to capture the vast expertise and experiences of those who may not relocate from Fort Monmouth, N.J. to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) of Fort Monmouth, said David Jimenez, associate director for system engineering, Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).
"We can improve what this command does for the Warfighter by sharing knowledge and providing the best mission solutions through the application of science and technology and industrial management," Jimenez said. "The more we are aware of each other's efforts, contributions and products, the better we can leverage each other's strengths for the benefit of the Army and the Warfighter."
With hundreds of capabilities being developed by military organizations throughout the world, staying aware of another's efforts is critical to a system engineer or program manager. MilTech's wiki is already being used by each to share knowledge of one another's programs to prevent a costly duplication of efforts, said Justin Filler, deputy director, MilTech Solutions.
Filler, a former contracting officer in the Army acquisition community, has witnessed firsthand how redundant research or development can be detrimental to the budget.
"If we are able to stop one duplicative effort from occurring, the entire cost of this effort has been worth it," Filler said. "Because chances are that right now, there's someone working on a contract to procure some communication system within the Army. Someone else within the Army is also working on that same project. If they just collaborated on their efforts, they could have reduced duplicative efforts of both administrative and actual procuring costs."
MilWiki is included in the firewalled suite of tools called milSuite. This also includes a blog and a future Facebook-type portal for professional networking and community collaboration. Each can only be accessed by the working military population with AKO/DKO accounts or a common access card.
Through the wiki, organizational newcomers or subject matter experts can quickly and easily access information about various topics, said Todd Miller, a Symbolic Systems, Inc. product manager supporting milSuite.
"At Army Team C4ISR, we have implemented milWiki in a number of our areas in terms of our employee resources, organizations and processes," he said. "You're seeing an immediate impact to the new user who comes in and is able to access thousands of articles on topics across the military spectrum through the practical act of obtaining a security badge."