West Point uses PLEXSYS OnScene Commander to Increase Situational Awareness, Accountability, and Safety
Sep 22, 2016 | By: Tara Marta
WEST POINT, N.Y., Sept 22, 2016 – OnScene Commander (OSC), the situational awareness software created by PLEXSYS, was subcontracted by PARSONS to assist West Point in both the Sandhurst international training competition and their cadets’ annual summer field training from April through August. After successfully employing OSC in their 2015 summer training, West Point selected OSC and the PLEXSYS/PARSONS team to assist Army leadership during both events this year. Information about OSC and its features is accessible at https://plexsys.com/onscene-commander/.
The first event, the annual Sandhurst training competition, occurred at West Point, N.Y. where over 60 teams from 12 nations came to compete in a 31 mile, 36 hour competition. The two-day competition consisted of day and night ops, physical conditioning, marksmanship, leadership and problem solving events. During the competition, Army leadership relied upon OSC for a common operation picture and multiple communication options. Furthermore, timing was very important for this competition. If teams stalled at any one event, it could throw off the tempo for the rest of the day. OSC enabled leadership to plan and support the different stages of Sandhurst, resulting in a consistent flow and successful training outcomes.
Following the Sandhurst competition, the PLEXSYS/PARSONS team continued to prove the value of OSC during the 2016 West Point annual summer field training exercises by, once again, providing unparalleled situational awareness superior to previous methods and tools employed. The weather and training environment at West Point vary greatly during the months of April to August, ranging anywhere form a cold, barren landscape to a very hot and humid dense forest. Furthermore, the training area is steep and difficult to traverse. Without OSC the Cadet leadership would send Cadets out on the course and only after the time limit had expired would they then know to begin looking for any lost or injured Cadets. The ability to provide leadership with a constant display of cadet locations and a user interface capable of setting geo boundaries, inactivity alerts–all while receiving text messages and SOS emergency alerts–increased the overall safety of field training. Throughout the period of performance from April to August this year, West Point leadership used OSC to communicate via text with over 690 participants equipped with devices to monitor and quickly address the following events:
• Boundary Violations
• Deployments of the Quick Reaction Force to pick-up cadets in and around the course
• SOS messages received from Cadets needing immediate action
• Notifications of injuries
• Notification of potential heat injury
In each of the events listed above, leadership was made aware of the situation in the field in near-real-time such that immediate action could be taken when and exactly where necessary. While simultaneously monitoring up to 300 dispersed Cadets fitted with the DeLorme InReach Explorer, OSC provided a common operating picture to the PARSONS and PLEXSYS contractor team. OSC enabled this team to monitor the status and geolocation of all cadets, while facilitating communication with leadership, as necessary.
The PARSONS/PLEXSYS team provided West Point with a turnkey solution including a mobile internet solution for the rural area of operation, 300 monitoring devices, OSC situational awareness software and the ability to perform after action review using the one-second tracking points internally stored within each device. Onsite contractor staff provided by PARSONS/PLEXSYS consisted of subject matter experts in Army operations, C2 and software integration. The after action review capability allowed cadet leadership to confirm that the cadets’ planned routes matched the actual route and also to find route errors that could be leveraged to increase the exercise’s training value.
Founded in 1986, PLEXSYS is a modeling and simulation (M&S) software company with 30+ years of delivering Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) training readiness solutions and innovation. We are a 100% employee-owned small business, with more than 200 full-time employees plus part-time consultants in nine states and four foreign countries.