State of FORCECOM June 2021
FORCECOM is broken.
I took over FORCECOM 28 April and spent that time since with my DCO David Ferber looking over what we had, what we needed, and how we should get there. We experienced a full report cycle with the tools then in play, and made our observations and plans.
The Observations –
FORCECOM was broken, technologically speaking. The current hosting provider not only was unreliable in delivering emails (the proof and copies of our reports and forms), the server itself would not record form entries reliably. Thus, my confidence in reporting was at about 70-80% – clearly not good enough! I can’t be asking units to report, for up to 20% fall through the cracks through no fault of their own.
Then we had Awards to work on. Ed Tunis took great efforts to get us ‘caught up’ before I took over. Still, after a reporting period there are about 100 awards to go in from the Brigade reports alone. This was when we noticed that when awards were input, we would get confirmations – but they would not show up in the member records. The current Database is just that broken.
The Plans –
This past weekend, we had a meeting with COINFOCOM and the Commandant, where we proposed we rebuild our tech infrastructure with Google products. New forms that feed into google sheets, where we can move/maunitulate/process and even archive the data until the new database is ready for us. They approved, and the SFI Data Protection Officer approved it as well.
From this point forward, FORCECOM will make best efforts to input awards into the current DB – but we are NOT counting on it. We will maintain our own records. We highly encourage ALL Marines to go do a virtual print out of their DB “Member Eligibility” page (all your courses and awards) for your records of the past. The future stuff – we (FORCECOM) will have it, and find ways to share with the respective Brigade staffs.
In the near future, Brigade Commanders will be given instructions on how to review not only the ‘backlog’ as we know it – but what is missing from the DB that we all thought HAD been input, but is not in member records. We will get caught up – but this will be an effort reaching down to the unit and members themselves. Then – we will store it until the new DB is ready for us.
To aid in this, we brought on staff members. Please welcome the following:
Jari James – Aide-de-camp
Awards Team: Eric Johannson, Kelly Hays, Deacon Grall, and Dona Rozelle.
We had MANY applicants, and thank you all for your time and energy. We had too many good options, and I had to limit how many chefs in the proverbial kitchen. But this team will let us build up that award processing and archive base – and start getting certs to people. With Jari on board, we’re also going to look forward to enabling operations within and between units and brigades. We’re a fanclub – interacting with each other is the whole point, and we mean to make that easier and more common for all.
Changes already in place:
New Reports forms for Units and Brigades. They are still located on the SFMC website – same page, same link – just a new look. More importantly a new back-end destination that is reliable, and FAR more useful (correlating data from 115+ emails = sadness, correlating data all in one spreadsheet with a normalized structure = happiness).
The awards form will be next, and I anticipate it will be ready late next week.
We know more changes are coming, but now FORCECOM has the personnel, the talent, and drive to meet the challenges ahead.
My predecessor started off the last State of FORCECOM with a quote, ”I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples”. This new FORCECOM Team only has very big rocks…
Expect some waves.
Jeremy “Sideshow” Carsten
Major General, SFMC