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It’s Time to Make Military Bases Smarter

It’s Time to Make Military Bases Smarter

The armed services are taking a cue from the civilian world to make military installations smarter. They’re applying technologies pioneered in smart cities, smart airports, smart buildings, and smart factories to improve readiness, security, safety, and efficiency. So, what does this mean for the future of military bases? We interviewed Norm Balchunas, Senior Director of Connected Defense, and Cybersecurity for Honeywell Aerospace on the topic.

Q: Where do the services stand when it comes to base modernization?

A: “There’s a lot of interest in improving base infrastructure and efficiency. Budget remains a challenge, but in the next decade, I think we’ll see the services building new hospitals, dormitories, and base housing, and upgrading buildings constructed in the 70s or even longer ago to make them smarter, more secure and more energy-efficient.”

Q: What changes will we see on the operational side of things?

A: “Connectivity will have a huge impact on base operations in areas like maintenance, warehousing, and supply chain processes. The services have access to huge volumes of data that they will be able to gather, process, aggregate, analyze, and use to improve the decision-making process across the board. We also see the services catching up to the commercial world in areas like robotics and automated warehousing. The result will be improved readiness and mission effectiveness.”

Q: How is connectivity changing the way flight line workers do their jobs?

A: “They’re using an incredible level of technology, including things like voice-activated checklists, synthetic vision, and augmented reality. All this technology improves safety and efficiency and enables a fully connected enterprise, where the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing. Military leaders have real-time information that improves decision-making, and front-line personnel has resources if they need help or advice.”

Smart building technologies are being implemented throughout the Department of Defense to automate buildings, reduce energy costs, and create safer, healthier, and more comfortable indoor environments. Companies like Honeywell are taking things to the next level. We’re applying artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics, and the Internet of Things to make buildings, whole cities, and, of course, military bases smarter.

Operations on a typical base generate untold terabytes of data every day. The challenge is turning these enormous volumes of data from thousands of disparate sources into actionable insights military commanders can use to improve readiness and successfully achieve their missions. Modernizing bases is a top priority for all the services, and we predict enormous progress toward the smart base of the future in the 2020s.

Norm Balchunas
Senior Director for Defense and Cybersecurity
Norm Balchunas is the Senior Director for Defense and Cybersecurity with Honeywell Aerospace. He's a retired U.S. Air Force officer.

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