School Without Walls:
IEW Maintainance Training in the Information Age
by Sergeant First Class Edward F. Turner
The vision of the Army Chief of Staff for the 21st century Army is
of To successfully realize this vision, Army training must evolve
as outlined in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's
(TRADOC) Army Training XXI strategy. This strategy addresses the
evolution of unit training within the Warfighter XXI concept and
the progression of institutional and self-development training in
the companion document, Warrior XXI. In support of these training
plans, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca
(USAIC&FH) has developed the Intelligence Training XXI strategy. To
promote the goals of the collective training vision, several
initiatives are under way within USAIC&FH which will harness the
potential of information technology (IT) and propel intelligence
training into the 21st century.
The trainers of the 111th Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade
are leading the charge to realize these goals and objectives. Bravo
Company, 305th MI Battalion, responsible for intelligence and
electronic warfare (IEW) maintenance training USAIC&FH, has taken
on the task of applying IT to enhance its training capabilities for
the future. To ensure that IEW maintainers are ready now in
concert with the Intelligence Training XXI objectives, training
initiatives that leverage IT are given top priority. Tremendous
progress has been made implementing two of TRADOC's exciting 21st
century training initiatives: the evolution of Classroom XXI and
"distance learning." This article will take a closer look at how we
are approaching IEW maintenance training in the information age.
The information age Army, forecast by Force XXI, will demand
fundamental changes in the traditional Army training system. While
those changes promise to affect all aspects of Army training in the
future, efforts are well under way within USAIC&FH to make dramatic
improvements today. The Intelligence Center has embarked on the
important job of creating an intelligence structure that will be
one with the warfighter and leveraging IT is key to this effort.
a total force trained and ready to fight, serving our
nation at home and abroad; a strategic force capable of decisive
victory, as the cornerstone of readiness, training remains
the Army's most important peacetime mission.
IEW Maintenance Training
It is important to take a brief look at the core of current
institutional IEW maintenance training before exploring its leading
edge initiatives. Bravo Company has the USAIC&FH responsibility in
designing, developing, and conducting initial entry training (IET),
advanced individual training (AIT), and functional course
instruction for Army IEW maintenance personnel in Career Management
Field (CMF) 33, Department of Defense civilians, and soldiers of
other branches who support Service cryptologic elements.
Accomplishing this mission on a daily basis offers some unique
Conducting both effective and efficient IEW maintenance
training in an era of increasingly complex systems and continually
decreasing resources is a formidable task. While this problem is
common to many fields within the intelligence community, it is
particularly acute in IEW maintenance. Institutional maintenance
training on many IEW systems is cost-prohibitive due to their
extremely low density within the force. Even so, the IEW maintainer
must possess the skills required to maintain all of the current
systems, ensuring them as to the force, wherever they are assigned.
The IEW maintenance training conducted today focuses on three main
areas: basic electronics, high powered workstations, and IEW system
troubleshooting. An extensive overview of basic electronics and
in-depth workstation maintenance training are the two key building
blocks for the IEW maintainer. The IEW system troubleshooting that
follows rounds out the educational curriculum. This training
strategy provides the best mix of theory and hands-on experience
possible within the limited time available. While this training
program is getting the job done today, it is all but assured that
it will be insufficient for the future.
As stated, the future is one of increasingly complex systems
and ever-decreasing resources. The need for more complex training
in a resource-constrained environment creates an information gap.
Units are already facing this information gap, the difference
between training required and training received. Although the
current training strategy is sound, it cannot fill this
ever-increasing information gap. Recognizing that its current
training strategy will not meet the needs of tomorrow, Bravo
Company set out to explore ways of closing the information gap. The
results of this effort, "Classroom XXI" and our distance learning
program, demonstrate the vast potential for IEW maintenance
training in the information age.
A Foundation for the Information Age
At Bravo Company, we built our information age initiatives on
a solid foundation. The cornerstone of support is provided by
USAIC&FH's Center Without Walls initiatives. The Center Without
Walls applies modern communications means to create more cohesive,
total MI teams by promoting increased and improved interaction
between all elements in the intelligence community. The total MI
team quickly integrates new technological capabilities to maintain
a warfighting edge. A subset of these initiatives known as School
Without Walls, is an ongoing effort within USAIC&FH to radically
redesign, develop, and provide innovative training services to MI
The second key piece for the evolution of information age
training is the robust IT infrastructure that exists at Fort
Huachuca. This key element provides the basic facilities and
equipment needed for the functioning of this important training
system. This infrastructure supports all of the efforts under the
Center Without Walls program. Brigadier General John W. Smith,
Deputy Commanding General, USAIC&FH, lists the need to make
USAIC&FH the premiere "School Without Walls" as one of his
Intelligence Training XXI training initiatives. The IT
infrastructure is the key enabler to making this happen.
Classroom XXI is one of the major efforts within Warrior XXI
that will lead TRADOC into the 21st century. TRADOC and its Centers
are working hard to fully develop this classroom of the future. One
of the Center's goals is to improve classroom instruction here at
the home of MI. Anticipating a resource-constrained environment and
appreciating the potential offered by IT, we set out to create a
prototype 21st century classroom featuring information age
technology. The endeavor will reengineer the classroom of the
training institution to capitalize on new training methods and
information technologies. Although it may not be the definitive
solution, by creating a Classroom XXI laboratory within USAIC&FH we
can explore more effective and efficient means of conducting
platform instruction by applying emerging techniques and
Bravo Company's Classroom XXI Training Laboratory is comprised
of a core and three main elements (see Figure 1). The core consists
of lesson plans converted to hypertext markup language (HTML)
distributed via an Intranet Web server over a local area network
(LAN). The three main elements of the laboratory are
Classroom XXI has also been supplemented with the recent addition
of the Barracks Link, which can extend the long arm of learning
into the student living quarters.
HTML Lesson Plans. The most vital part of the design of
this classroom was the creation of its core HTML lesson plans. The
Computer Maintenance Section (CMS), responsible for High Powered
Workstation (HPW) maintenance training within Bravo Company, was
chosen as the test-bed for the project. Since none existed, the
first step was to develop a HTML format for lesson plans. With a
format in hand, the three-month process began to convert all of the
CMS lesson plans to HTML. When completed, more than 40 separate
lessons, consisting of hundreds of pages, had been produced for the
project. Assigned soldiers and civilians did all the work. With the
entire HPW course available to the instructor over an internal
network, CMS was now ready to take advantage of its
state-of-the-art classroom. Classroom XXI had come to life.
The HTML lesson plan core of Classroom XXI enables any
instructor within the section to access lesson plans on-line.
However, there are also many additional benefits provided by the
classroom configuration. Instructors can rapidly update these
on-line lessons in real time and the lessons are readily available
to all consumers. Another benefit resulting from on-line lessons is
the elimination of most publication costs. There is no need to
print volumes of hard-copy lessons. Additional benefits will also
be realized in the future. For instance, training managers,
developers and even students, will also have on-line access to
these training materials. The increase in administrative efficiency
and training effectiveness is obvious across the board.
Podium-top Lesson Plan Access. A primary feature of the
Classroom XXI suite draws directly from the HTML lesson plan core.
It is podium-top access to on-line lesson plans. This low-cost
solution gets the lesson plans from the LAN to the instructor's
fingertips in the classroom. A lap-top computer placed on top of
the instructor's podium provides lesson plan access. This computer,
connected to the instructor LAN, directly accesses the appropriate
HTML lesson plan using Web browser software, such as Netscape. The
instructor simply moves through the lessons with a click of the
mouse. Additionally, the instructor is not limited to lesson plans
alone. The Computer Maintenance Section is able to place a wealth
of related information on its Web server. All of this information
is just a mouse-click away from the instructor on the platform.
Advanced Assistant Instructor and Visitor Positions. The
second key element of the Classroom XXI training laboratory is
advanced assistant instructor and visitor positions. This element
also draws directly from the HTML lesson plan core. The advanced
assistant instructor (AI) position is a computer that provides LAN
access independent of the primary instructor's. The AI can access
all the information available to the instructor, without disrupting
the ongoing training. The AI can read ahead or review recently
covered material. With appropriate permission, the AI could even be
updating lessons on the fly. This second independent
information-access point, the advanced AI position, greatly
enhances the training environment.
The visitor position is also a part of the second element. In
a traditional classroom, a hard copy of all the courseware is in
the classroom for training evaluators and other visitors to review.
This is called the visitor folder. Depending on the particular
lesson, a visitor folder could easily be a thousand pages or more.
The Classroom XXI suite does away with this huge expense. A
separate monitor, connected to the instructor's computer, is in the
back of the classroom. This simple device allows a training manager
to follow along with the primary instructor without flipping a
single page. The costs saved by this simple solution should prove
Totally Electronic Slide Presentations. The final
element of the Classroom XXI implementation is totally electronic
slide presentations. This element also promises to be a dramatic
cost saver. It is estimated that the traditional acetate slide
produced for overhead projectors cost approximately one dollar
each. With each block of instruction consisting of one hundred or
more slides, the costs add up quickly. The goal of the totally
electronic slide presentation is to never produce another hard-copy
slide. Electronic slide presentations consist of computer-based
slide presentations, such as ones made with Microsoft PowerPoint,
projected electronically from a floppy disk. The projectors that
facilitate this are not cheap, but eliminating hard-copy slides
quickly recaptures their cost.
The recent addition of the Barracks Link has worked to
supplement Classroom XXI efforts. The barracks link consists of a
computer lab in their AIT student barracks. While it is not yet
possible, the design goal is to have most of the instructional
material available, via the Internet, to the students in the
barracks. The benefit of this is twofold. First, the student gets
hands-on experience accessing vital information through the
network, a skill crucial to the field soldier of the future.
Second, the students have access to information they can review at
their own pace. The student can cover missed material or "read up"
on the next day's lesson. The initial implementation of the
barracks link has proven to be wildly popular. The dividends it
will pay more than justify the costs involved.
As stated earlier, Classroom XXI is an ongoing effort and we
learn valuable lessons from our training laboratory every day. We
continue to refine it wherever and whenever possible. The Classroom
XXI suite developed is not the perfect solution for everyone, but
it has demonstrated a potential and has increased instructor
efficiency. Classroom XXI has definitely been a step in the right
- Podium-top computer access to the on-line lesson plans.
- Advanced assistant instructor and visitor positions.
- Totally electronic slide presentations.
With USAIC&FH striving to become the premiere School Without
Walls, one area of concentration is increasing our support to the
IEW maintainer in the field. Fulfilling this need is the driving
force behind the second major training initiative, distance
learning. As is stated in Warrior XXI documentation,
Distance learning is not a discrete technology but incorporates
a number of emerging technologies to move distributed learning from
the realm of the possible to that of the practical.
To this end, we developed a practical solution called LINK33.
LINK33 is a World Wide Web server accessible anywhere in the world
via the commercial Internet. It is an interactive electronic
maintenance home page designed to link the worldwide, joint
Service, electronic maintenance community. While many organizations
are using the Internet as a distribution source for information,
LINK33 is going beyond the one way flow of information. Many
aspects of LINK33 offer "interactivity" to the user. There are
areas, such as the electronic help desk, by which the maintainer in
the field can interact directly with institutional trainers
possessing a wealth of resident knowledge that is available at
USAIC&FH. LINK33's design facilitates the complete flow of
information to and from the field. Internet access to LINK33 is
through the uniform resource locator (URL) inside the brackets,
http://huachuca-link33.army.mil. The name LINK33 comes from CMF 33,
Electronic Warfare and Intelligence Systems Maintenance.
The information provided by LINK33 will reduce the costs
associated with training, simplify the introduction of new systems
and doctrine, fill training gaps and help satisfy force structure
requirements. The LINK33 service provides a wealth of IEW
maintenance information directly to the maintainer in the field.
Basic electronics information and courseware is available, as well
as maintenance and self-study information for HPWs. The link
provides information on all facets of CMF 33 IET training and for
many functional courses. LINK33 also provides maintenance,
training, and general information for many IEW systems such as the
All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) and TROJAN Special Purpose
Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal (SPIRIT) II. LINK33
directly addresses many of the challenges of leveraging information
technology to improve training.
Providing information on the commercial Internet is inherently
nonsecure. With that in mind, no information goes on LINK33 unless
it falls in the realm of approved for public release. Of course
there is a need to provide information that is sensitive or even
classified to the field. We are addressing this need through the
creation of a duplicate LINK33 service on the Secret Internet
Protocol Routing Network (SIPRNET). This will allow provision of
information up to the SECRET level within a secure environment.
It is important to note that there are two methods of
distributing learning: synchronous and asynchronous. The
synchronous mode deals with the real-time delivery of training.
While highly valuable, it is inherently complex, expensive, and
time-intensive. Conversely, the asynchronous mode deals with
retrievable training that is without time constraints. The LINK33
distance learning initiative concentrates on delivering
asynchronous distance learning. This limitation greatly reduces the
costs associated with implementation, yet can still meet many of
the needs of the maintainer in the field. Like Classroom XXI,
LINK33 is an ongoing effort. Bravo Company will continue to develop
LINK33 so that it can become the definitive electronic maintenance
information resource available anywhere within the Department of
We are evaluating continuous advancements to expand our ability
to provide training when and where needed. Additional advancements
are undergoing test to increase the interactivity with maintainers
in the field. Work continues to mature on what Bravo Company has
termed distance assistance. Distance assistance will continue to
close the information gap. It will also work to bring the classroom
to the battlefield and vice versa. As Classroom XXI and distance
learning continue to develop, they begin to meld, working to create
a true Warrior XXI training environment. Distance assistance will
be a key part of that environment.
One promising distance assistance technology we are
incorporating into LINK33 is limited desktop video conferencing.
USAIC&FH has already successfully tested a very inexpensive
solution that allowed maintainers at Fort Lewis, Washington, to
interact with personnel at USAIC&FH over the Internet. This
solution offers interactivity using video, audio, and a shared
John Madden white board. In much the same fashion that the Army's
medical field is experimenting with tele-maintenance, so, also is
Bravo Company experimenting with tele-maintenance. This technology,
and many others, promise to increase both the usability and
viability of the LINK33 service and other information age training
USAIC&FH continues to explore all avenues of IT as it seeks to
improve maintenance and other training. The fast-paced training
environment posed by Force XXI will place extraordinary demands on
all training institutions. The efforts being made today will ensure
that maintenance training remains Always Out Front.
Sergeant First Class Edward F. Turner is an
Instructor-Writer assigned to Bravo Company, 305th MI Battalion. He
is the primary architect of the Classroom XXI Training Laboratory
and the LINK33 Distance Learning projects. He has a bachelor of
science degree in Computer Studies from the University of Maryland.
Readers can reach him at commercial (520) 538-4753, DSN 879-4753,
and E-mail email@example.com.