Smart installations in Army’s future

In the future, Army installations could employ artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics and other technological advancements.

The goal is to increase efficiencies and improve the sustainability of the force, according to the assistant chief of staff for installation management, or ACSIM.

“Planning for the installations of the future” is ACSIM’s newest initiative, and it will force the installation management team to rethink the Army’s culture, said Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham.

ACSIM is responsible for providing the policies, programs and resources for all installation services and infrastructure.

The organization manages an $18 billion budget that supports 156 installations, 1 million Soldiers and 2.2 million family members across the total force.

Bingham was the keynote speaker at the Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare breakfast on June 12.

In line with the Army’s vision, ACSIM will continue to invest its “construction, restoration and modernization” budget into infrastructure that supports the Army’s top priority of readiness, Bingham said.

Moving forward, the Army must change the way it looks at installations in the future by leveraging commercial and cutting-edge science and technology.

Similar to the ideology behind a “smart city,” the total force of 2035 could be operating through “smart installations” that are strategically designed to improve the way the Army builds and monitors individual and unit readiness, Bingham said.

“So, let’s imagine for a moment the use of artificial intelligence and other smart cities’ technologies such as autonomous vehicles for transportation on a post, camp, station or installation,” Bingham said. “Imagine being able to use and analyze big data so that you could look at a building and be able to predict when it was going to need repairs.”

In turn, smart installations could improve the quality of life for all Soldiers, families, civilians and veterans living in or around an installation, she said.

Aside from ACSIM’s desire to make installations smarter, the team is also looking into making improvements to entry control points. Biometric sensors, license plate readers and other advancements currently employed by industry partners could be a potential improvement to access points, Bingham said.

Further, the use of drones, sensors, cameras and other technologies have the potential to enhance the Army’s ability to broaden installation security.

ACSIM, in coordination with the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, is scheduled to pilot various types of physical security technology at several Army installations within the next 12 to 18 months.

ACSIM is slated to release more information about the pilot program in October.

Bingham also identified the millennial culture as being a leading factor behind many of changes. ACSIM is currently partnering with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to survey millennials and millennial families to help shape the future force.

“We believe that we must begin to have conversations with the people who are going to use that technology in 2035 and beyond,” she said. “What services will our junior members want us to provide or need on installations? What services can be provided off-post … so that we can rid ourselves of some of those non-core missions.”

Overall, ACSIM will continue to cultivate partnerships with academia and industry to magnify a “collective spirit” toward change and capabilities to help the Army accomplish its goal of modernizing the force, Bingham said.

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