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Program offers electronic deployment information

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Shawn Fry
  • Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs
A Web-based, user-friendly software program Air Force Materiel Command experts here are testing promises warfighters instant access to deployment information. Plus, it will save the Air Force nearly $79 million during a five-year period.

The Deployment Qualification System works through the Air Force portal and gives access to current status on prerequisites like self-aid and buddy care, Level 1 anti-terrorism and chemical warfare training along with weapons qualifications and preventative health assessment dates, according to Maj. Jeff Stephan, program manager.

The new program also allows warfighters to be proactive in preparing to deploy while automated administrative steps in the process saves man-hours.

"The system was developed as a way to empower people to get ready for deployment on their own," Stephan said, who explained the self-service Web site can be accessed from a workplace computer.

"The (air and space) expeditionary force is our culture, and deploying trained and ready airmen on time is the most important thing we do," said Gen. Lester Lyles, AFMC commander. "And yet, individuals currently have no way to check or take actions to improve their individual deployment readiness without having to burden their unit deployment manager. This tool gives individuals that opportunity."

Col. William Saunders, AFMC's e-business chief, said the system resulted from a business case analysis which compared deployment costs to benefits. The analysis found the current deployment process had three major shortfalls -- it is labor intensive, lacks consistency and lacks proactive features such as notifying people when their qualification expires.

The old multistep process required deployment managers to organize an airman's equipment and hospital records, schedule training and maintain personnel and other documents before the individual was considered deployable, a cumbersome process at best, Saunders said.

"Many reported they used paper, spreadsheets and locally developed databases that differ from unit to unit within AFMC," he said.

On top of that, deployment managers resorted to using personal computer-based tools to assist them, which has created duplicated databases unable to interact with each other, Stephan said.

"This fragmented data makes the task challenging and leaves service providers unable to accurately predict ... training and immunizations for upcoming (AEF) windows," he said.

The new system comes as the Air Force chief of staff requests commanders to review their command's deployment readiness regularly.

"The benefits of switching to DQS will allow deployment managers to focus on their primary areas of responsibility," said Tech. Sgt. Patricia Gilmore of Aeronautical Systems Center here. Since deployment manager is not a career field, the role is filled as an additional duty with larger units dedicating one or two people full time to handle deployment responsibilities.

"The DQS allows deployment managers to immediately track individuals, no-shows, training completion notices and any changes in training," she said.

According to Stephan, the system also gives training providers a tool that can help event scheduling, up-to-the-minute training rosters, certify course completion, publish training materials and compare planned training versus forecasted demand.

"This system will put more hours back in mission accomplishment and less in tracking," Gilmore said. "The system will be faster than people can do paper work.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," she said. "This isn't rocket science; after all, this isn't even a concept that is new. We are taking a commercial process and making it fit the needs of the Air Force."

System testing will be completed in March, with end-user training here and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., said 2nd Lt. James Yeates, DQS program test director.

"Users are asked to provide feedback to help shape the next configuration of the tool," he said.

The new system will be available for warfighter use to prepare for summer deployments. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)