First, the obvious: This is how recruit training should be deployed. Having not only a mobile device for notes, studying, curriculum deployment, and comms., but a wearable should accompany this for health and stress monitoring. According to the Navy Times, 2 different part numbers will be fielded. A COTS version, one each, and a milspec ruggedized version also one each.
When I went to boot camp at RTC San Diego, the recruit was required to have the standard issue notebook and US govt issue pen in the spiral at all times. In this government standard notebook the recruit would take government standard notes. The notebook had its pros and cons.
- It easily and comfortably fit in the front or rear inside belt line of a pair of Dungarees, inside the shirt.
- Like the iPhone 6+, the recruit notebook could bend with the body.
- It was easy to read in direct sunlight
- No batteries required
- There were no concerns bringing the notebook to Marching Party or…God forbid, Shore Tour.
- Physical Torture causes persipiration which makes paper soggy
- You can’t write on soggy paper
- You can’t read documents that get ruined by abnormal wear and tear so time had to be expended rewriting the required documents (General Orders etc) that a recruit was required to have.
- Marching or drilling with an M1A1 Carbine was not difficult because you had both hands free, unless you were a Yeoman or the Guidon bearer or the guy in front with the sword, then you got to carry a rifle. Carrying a tablet might mitigate drilling with rifles.
It will be interesting how they mount the device for transit.
2nd Batallion, Division 7, Company 157 had to march, almost always at a double-time from the Barracks to the Galley and then back at least 3 times a day, unless we were at school. This presents the obvious problem of dropping ones tablet.
MCPON (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens told Navy Times that the 802.11 infrastructure was the most difficult evolution this far, from building it, testing it and securing it to Navy Standards across RTC Great Lakes. While Command wide WIFI is not a stranger to the Navy, deploying it on Ships would be a cake walk when compared to a Recruit Training Center and Service School Command.
I had the misfortune of spending a year at NTC Great Mistakes for Class A School for Fire Controlman, where the purple pin is. Winters are brutal, summers are as well. The perfect environment to pilot test the mobile device deployment. Here is an excerpt from Navy Times outlining Master Chief Stevens sentiments for the program:
“To be a Navy of the 21st century we must embrace this technology, and we can’t let things like security and cost and all that kind of stuff drive the decision — we’ve got to learn to lead and manage through that,”
MCPON Stevens could not elaborate on which devices were going to be used, but I’m sure they will be different brands and I would also bet they might look at a 10 and a 7 inch version, the larger candidate coming from Cupertino.
While the deployment is still a couple years out, the magnitude of an evolution this size….almost half a million devices when they go live, is going to be one very interesting deployment to follow. Having personally been instrumental in one of the largest iPhone deployments ever, @ ~45K devices, and having managed a 100 device deployment for the Navy Supply Corps, combining the logistics and accountability requirements and the raw volume of devices is literally going to require a mobile guru to execute.