By Emily Gee, PEO C3T January 10, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 9, 2013) -- A new version of the Army's Single Interface to the Field virtual portal was recently released, giving Soldiers greater flexibility and easier access to mission-essential logistics, training and fielding information.
Single Interface to the Field, or SIF, provides a single point of reach-back where Soldiers can obtain support for any system managed by the Army's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or C4ISR, organizations. These hardware and software applications include the Army's tactical communications, situational awareness and mission command capabilities.
"SIF is a great example of efficient technology which directly assists Soldiers and field support," said Emerson Keslar, the director of the Army's Military Technical, or MilTech, Solutions Office, where SIF is assigned. "By creating a repository of fielding, support and training processes and information, SIF synchronizes the working relationships between units and program managers in the Army Force Generation process."
Army Force Generation, known as ARFORGEN, is an Army-wide training and deployment cycle designed to ensure that there is always a pool of trained, equipped and deployment-ready troops.
The new SIF 3.0 portal, released in October, was built using open-source software, which allowed for a new interface and gave users significantly increased flexibility to access and search for documents and content. It also gives SIF administrators more freedom to implement any changes, without the need for additional software development requests or resources. The new, open-source solution is expected to reduce operational and maintenance costs.
Originally released in 2007, the development of the SIF portal coincided with the Army's adoption of the Unit Set Fielding, or USF, process, which synchronizes planning, fielding, training and reset of all C4ISR capabilities.
SIF was created to consolidate multiple stove-piped applications and tools that needed to be used by both deploying Soldiers and field support personnel. Soldiers can utilize the SIF portal to access training briefings and documents, as well as detailed information about the C4ISR systems they may be fielded. SIF has supported all rotations of units at the Combined Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and Fort Polk, La.
Likewise, field support personnel and project managers can use the portal to access fielding schedules and contact information for the hundreds of units that participate in the USF process at the same time.
Beyond USF, the portal and its associated modules support a number of Army exercises, including the ongoing Network Integration Evaluations, or NIEs.
The Incident Reporting Module, or IRM, linked within the SIF portal, serves as the online standard trouble ticket/ issue reporting, tracking and problem-resolution capability for all C4ISR systems. When Soldiers or field support personnel run into an issue while training or deployed, an incident ticket is created within the IRM and linked to C4ISR subject matter experts.
The SIF IRM team worked directly with the Army's System of Systems Integration Directorate Integrated Process Team to create a customized, tailored IRM console for the NIEs. This module features an 11-item incident reporting form for Soldiers to quickly fill in the relevant information for a support ticket, while continuing their evaluations in the field.
"The newly designed trouble ticket system ensures any issues are entered into one system and then routed to the trail bosses with the right expertise to resolve them," said Feliciano (Felix) Davila, who used the module at the Army's most recent NIE in October. Davila is a Command Post and Staff Integration operations subject matter expert for the Army's Product Manager for Command Post Systems and Integration.
The SIF program celebrated its fifth anniversary of the portal's release in 2012, and the capability continues to provide the field community with access to mission-critical information and reach-back support capabilities.
"The SIF portal really gears itself toward the field support community and the Soldier directly, in terms of providing data that's pertinent to their missions," said Eileen Weinstein, SIF knowledge management representative. "As the Army strives to make itself more efficient in all areas, the SIF team strives to make the support community more efficient and to reduce duplication of effort, which accrues to cost savings."
The SIF portal is accessible at https://sif.kc.army.mil. The MilTech Solutions Office and Product Manager, Command Post Systems and Integration are assigned to the Army's Program Executive Office, Command Control Communications-Tactical.