Give submariners the opportunity to get bands- on personal computer training at seal How? Provide each submarine with one or more small desk top computers like the Zenith Z-248, that crew members can use on their off-time for their own training and productivity. Let them experiment with standard software packages like WordPerfect, Lotus 123, and dBase III. Soon they will be teaching themselves the programming language of the Disk Operating System (DOS) in order to write their own programs. (Self-paced video cassette courses are also available.)
It is predicted that, given the opportunity, submariners will quickly learn to use a personal computer of under $2,000 cost to produce programs that will benefit the ship as well as themselves. The possibilities are many.
Exercycles and rowing machines have been put on board submarines — without specific orders to use them. Those who do use them are benefited. Surely there are a few in the crew who want to develop an expertise in the use or computers. They see the handwriting on the wall — that personal computers will become as indispensable as the typewriter and telephone.
Only about 25 years ago the IBM selectric typewriter was introduced. Now the typewriter is relatively obsolete — being Crequently replaced by word processors and personal computers. Just look around any modern monitor– monitor screens are everywhere .
Within the Naval Sea Systems Command the Submarine Directorate has over 300 Zenith Z-248 1 s with an assortment of laser printers, operational programs, and desktop publishing programs — Cor use by NAVSEA activities. A dedicated computer training facility Cor the directorate is located in a NAVSEA building which demonstrates the utilization oC the personal computer. And, the tools for amassing data, relative to submarine acquisition and maintenance management have been provided which previously were too voluminous to manipulate by any number oC people. Additionally, the SSN 688 class and SEAWOLF class submarines are being pursued as lead weapon systems Cor the demonstration or major elements or computer-aided logistics (CALS) — an integrated mechanism for a modernization process that is underway in the Navy today. Programs exist or are under development for automating oCCboard logistics technical infor-mation, and introducing advanced computer techno-logies to specific logistic functional applica-tions. One of the Coremost purposes of CALS is to integrate these programs Cor enhanced weapons systems acquisition and support.
Becoming literate on computers aboard can prepare submariners to be useful in shore jobs involving such computer assisted programs. And, the same sort or things can be done Cor shipboard problems and are likely to be programmed by enthusiastic crew members who want to demonstrate their acquired computer skills.They are likely to automate their needs: record keeping, personnel actions, duty rosters, recall lists, maintenance records, turnover documentation, publication status, qualification programs, chart lists, work packages, advancement requirements, check off lists of reports required, patrol report inputs, training requirements, etc. When they have the mundane problems automated they should ascend into tactical, operational, and engineering analyses.
Most importantly, computer-literate resourceful submariners are likely to develop programs which should markedly reduce the on-board paper work overload — so crippling to important at-sea training programs.
Classified data may be worked on the computer’s hard disk as long as it is not permanently stored there. Programs are available to insure the hard disc is erased of classified data after each use. (See your classified material control officer for specific guidance.)
Crews provided with personal computers might be tasked with specific problems: budget requirement analyses, coordinated logistic deployment analyses, torpedo doctrine analyses. The list of projects is great. The capability and curiosity of submarine sailors is also great. Their computer-oriented talents should not go to waste. They should be computer literate to advance their professionalism and to make them more productive ashore. In the end, the submarine force will benefit.
Captain Alfred A. Ortlieb, USNR
Lieutenant Walter M. Locke, Jr., USNR
COLUMBIA RESEARCH CORPORATION