IBM Software Keeps Soldiers Out Of Harm's Way

There's no doubt that software and technology advancements have made all of our lives easier, but sometimes things go a bit further than giving us more options for shopping and easier ways to stay connected to high school classmates. Take IBM, for example. The iconic tech giant has just released a software protocol that not only cuts down on paper usage, but also removes American soldiers from the line of fire.

No, we're not talking about robotic software that automatically fires at enemies. That's already out there. This is a simpler affair, but when viewed in this circumstance, it gives you a whole new appreciation of simple software. Recently, the US Army applauded EIM's Army Action Tracking System, which is based around IBM's Lotus Forms Software. At the 2009 LandWarNet Conference, the U.S. Army Publishing Directorate (APD) received the Army Knowledge Management Award for the Army Action Tracking System (A2TS), which enables a soldier or other Army field or office worker to initiate a tasker at any location and route it ad hoc to any users or users within the secure Army Knowledge Online or Defense Knowledge Online network.

A2TS supports digital signatures and allows the entire lifecycle of the tasker to remain completely electronic, and it's a critical part of a larger Army objective to transition from traditional paper forms management to web-enabled, forms-based business applications using existing software investments. Larry Bowden, IBM Vice President, Portals and Mashups, summed it up nicely with this:

"This technology allows the Army to actually stop sending soldiers into the line of fire in order to get an officer's signature on a military form. All of this can now be done remotely, securely and electronically."

Like we said, a simple improvement that wouldn't seem like much in the civilian world, but implement it in a war zone and it takes on a whole new level of importance. It really makes you wonder what else could be tackled via software in order to further protect our soldiers--we're guessing IBM and company are already two steps ahead thinking of that, though.