Databases in the U.S. ArmyDavid BerwangerCIS/20506/07/2011James ForgathDatabases in the U.S.
ArmyDatabases are widely used in the United States Army. Almost every department within the Army uses them. These electronic filing cabinets so to speak, are so resourceful, so easily accessible that they have become a necessity. From personnel management, to battlefield organizations, databases are widely implemented to help unit commanders and key leaders manage not only their troops, but their equipment as well. The military widely relies on Microsoft Office to create papers, reports, spreadsheets, graphs, and databases. As a Team Leader, I have to do monthly counseling statements, be it positive or negative. When these counseling statements are presented, signed and finished, they are then uploaded into a database for future reference.
Every soldier in the Army has a Military Personnel file. This file is electronically amended and stored. Each soldier is also given access to view their files anytime they so choose. These files contain copies of all enlistment paperwork, orders for promotions, awards, and assignments and change of duty stations.
Along with their personnel files are their medical files as well. The individual soldier cannot access their entire medical files on the internet, however, they can log into a website that allows them to check on the status of their vaccines, HIV results, and dental status. Those soldiers who have been wounded and are on any kind of limited duty profile can also see the profile paperwork and print off a personal copy for themselves if needed. In a world where everything is being done electronically, it is a great feeling knowing that even in the Army we have real time access to our files.
Even the Department of Defense Financial and Accounting Service uses an electronic database to submit pay for the thousands of soldiers each pay period sends out an electronic paystub to each individual soldier using this system. Where a standard administrative assistant may only have to be familiar with one or two different database programs such as Oracle, or Microsoft Access, soldiers in the Army have many different databases to utilize, each one with its own purpose and management. Not every soldier in the Army will have access to every database either. Depending on your role in the Army will predetermine which ones you use.
For each database that a soldier needs access to, there must be a request for access submitted. The credentials for the databases are then registered to the individual??™s ID card so that when the soldier attempts to log on to the database, the system knows if the soldier should be there or not. If the credential is not on the ID card, then the soldier will not even be allowed to make a login attempt. There was a time when I hated using databases and doing data entry.
Now that times are changing, I am really beginning to understand how important databases can be and how useful they are. Even though there are many to keep up with, and a lot of different reasons for using them, they really simplify everything. Having everything I need at my fingertips is an awesome feeling. I also like the idea that in the event my individual computer crashes, I can still access the database and pull up the records I need.
It is like having access to a virtual library, where no matter who else is reading the file, I can still access it at the same time and there is no checkout line or due date. The only thing that would make it better is if all databases were conveniently located in one place, or if one database itself could be used to report anything and everything that a soldier needed to, all from one convenient place. As you can tell, there is a great deal more to being a soldier than wearing a bunch of field gear and going out into the desert on a mission.
We also have to do records management as well. To do this job successfully and completely, the use of one or more databases is essential. Databases have come a long way over the decades. There are always improvements being made on how they are designed and maintained. I can only look forward to where they will go next and what the new design for the next database program will look like.