By Sgt. Sinthia Rosario, 24th Press Camp HeadquatersJuly 15, 2011
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (Army News Service, July 15, 2011) Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division participated in a six-week Network Integration Evaluation event, but one Soldier in particular drew the attention of many.
Spc. Nicholas C. Johnson, an infantryman assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, has been working with the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications. CSDA involves suites of digital applications on networked smart phones.
Working with software is something Johnson is very good at. Prior to joining the Army, Johnson worked in data operations management, network administrator and software development, developing industrial automations software, as well as Android and smart phone-based applications.
His background has proven to be beneficial to him in his new career in the Army.
“My company commander, Capt. Dewitt, has a pretty extensive engineering background,” said Johnson. “When the CSDA project came along, knowing that he had me as a resource, he said 'we'll test that in our company.'”
When Johnson was initially tasked with being the technology oversight for the project he naturally began creating these applications because of his previous background.
They’re using Android smart phones; the servlet network and building a server, which is the server that runs the CSDA project. “All the software on it I actually configured and administered all the way through the test,” said Johnson.
“I created a medical evacuation and messaging applications which assisted in walking people through the medevac process,” said Johnson. “The messaging application allows the tactical operation center to push messages to the Soldiers.”
During his time in the field he has also developed an application that allows patrols going into a village to pull up census data to create talking points as they're patrolling through the village. He has enjoyed working on this project, although he had to adapt to a few changes.
Becoming accustomed to Army technology and its policies has been a learning experience for Johnson. Learning how to apply civilian technology to Army principles and doctrine, particular in a testing environment.
“It has allowed me to really keep up with my technology skill set and maintain that sharp edge that I've had most of my career,” said Johnson.
After the field exercise Johnson is planning to transfer to the Signal Corps, then into the Warrant Officer Corp to further assist the Army in bringing in more advanced technology to benefit the tactical environment.
“My wife believes I should get into something that fully utilizes my skills,” said Johnson. “She doesn't necessarily want me in the edge of battle, so much as in the edge of technology."
“She knew about my skill set before we married and fully supports my career decisions and being able to transition into something that is more in my skill set and expertise and talents,” he added.
“For an infantryman in this environment involves a lot of training, going out on patrols, refining standing operation procedures and working on battle drills,” said Johnson. “I have truly enjoyed being an infantryman, I really hope to continue to service everybody working in this MOS and providing better technology to make sure they come home safer, make them more lethal and more efficient on the battlefield.”