Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 24

RESTRICTED

DEFENCE DATA MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY

INTRODUCTION 1. Alvin Toffler, described the emergence of a new era, which he

termed the age of the information society.1 According to Toffler, the information society represents a third era in societal evolution, displacing the earlier agricultural and industrial societies.2The information society is bringing about fundamental changes in work patterns, organizational arrangements and individual life styles. 2. The information age is already a fact of life to most people in

the modern, computerized society. Nigerian Army (NA) is practically submerged in information at peace and war-time. Personal computers have invaded offices. Commanders at all levels are often bombarded by more information than they can assimilate or use effectively. 3. Information is one of the most vital resources of any

organization and its management is very important for its success. According to McFadden and Hoffer, information is data that have been processed and refined and then displayed in a format that is
1

Alvin Toffler, in Fred R McFadden and Jeffrey A Hoffer, Database Management, (California: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc, 1985), P. 27. 2 Ibid

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED convenient for decision making or other organizational activities while data are facts concerning people, places, events, objects or concepts.3 Data are often relatively useless to decision makers until they have been processed or refined in some manner. In this paper, the term data will be used when referring to the facts recorded in a database while information will be used when referring to the overall information resource of an organization. 4. The Nigerian Army (NA), though fully equipped with

computers still uses the traditional file processing systems where data files are tailored to solve specific problems. The data are generally regarded as belonging to specific departments, corps, or formations rather than a resource to be shared by all qualify users. Even within formations, departments and corps, each cell keeps its own files which are not shared with other cells except with some degree of liaison. This system leads to uncontrolled redundancy and sometimes inconsistent data. 5.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the techniques for the

establishment of a sustainable database for the NA. The paper will take an overview of defence data management, A case study of the NA database, the database technology approach for the establishment and management of a database and strategies for a sustainable database for the Defence.
3

Ibid., P. 28.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED
AIM 6. The aim of this paper is to examine the establishment and

management of a sustainable database for the NA with a view to making recommendations.

THE OVERVIEW OF DATA MANAGEMENT IN THE NIGERIAN ARMY 7. There was no formal data management system in the NA

even as at 1993, despite its acquisition of computers as far back as late 1970s.4 What was prevalent then was the manual way of managing data which involved the storage of documents or information in file cabinets. Dissemination was carried out through telex or Signal Dispatch Service (SDS). 8. The introduction of computer and IT in the NA in the late

1970s was more of an accident than a carefully thought out exercise.5 Two distinct forces propelled the computerization. The first was attributed to the initiative of the computer vendors who were only interested in making money by selling computing

Arogbofa J, Brig Gen quoted in MA Ndubuisi Col, Information Technology and National Security: A Case Study of the Armed Forces Research Project submitted to the National War College, Abuja, Participant Course 12, August, 2004. P.30
5

Ibid. P.31.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED equipment to the NA irrespective of the need at that time.6 The second was due to the efforts of the Nigerian Army Finance Corps (NAFC).7 The Corps was determined to automate its pay procedure in order to minimize reported incidences of malpractices in the administration of pay and allowances of the troops. 9. The importance of IT and its place in the overall

accomplishment of the NA mission was acknowledged in the early 1980s.8 This was due to the impressive capabilities of IT that has drastically changed the ways the military all over the world operate. In order to catch up with the trend, the NA came out with a computer policy which established the Directorate of Automated Data Processing (DADP) in 1981 under the auspices of the Army Headquarters Department of Administration (AHQ DOA).9 10. Between 2007 and 2008, the NA succeeded in procuring computers for its units down to battalion level. Despite this effort, data management in the NA was still poor. There was no attempt to create a central database for the NA and no means of sharing even the available data. Currently, DADP, NAFC, AHQ MS and
6

MA Indubuisi Col, Information Technology and National Security: A Case Study of the Armed Forces Research Project submitted to the National War College, Abuja, Participant Course 12, August, 2004. P.32 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid. 9 Kitchener, Brig Gen (Director, DADP), interviewed on 12 Apr 2010.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED Command Army Records (HQ CAR), maintain 4 separate but similar personnel databases for the NA. There are however inconsistencies when any two are compared.10 There is therefore the need for the NA to establish a comprehensive and centralized database for the entire NA which could be shared by all users. This will reduce redundancy and the inconsistencies associated with the present system. 11. Even though DADP succeeded in establishing a database of all officers and soldiers in the NA, the software it used was source locally and could not be updating online.11 The department could not however acquire the genuine software due to inadequate funds and this thwarted its efforts at maintaining a central database for the NA. Inadequate funding also contributed to the department inability to computerized NA stores and equipment, training support, military operations and doctrine, research and combat development processes as it planned. There is therefore the need for the NA to always make adequate funds available whenever tasks of this importance are been undertaken by any directorate. 12. The NA is in the process of establishing the Nigerian Army

Wide Area Network Infrastructure (NAWANI) with a data centre


10

Mazelli AC, Maj (Secretary, NAWANI technical Implementation Committee, AHQ DAPP) Interview on 9 Apr 10. 11 Kitchener, Brig Gen (Director, DADP), Op. Cit.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED linked to it. The first phase of the project has been completed and AHQ has been linked with all Divisional Headquarters, the Headquarters, Joint Task Force (HQ JTF), Headquarters, Nigerian Army Signals (HQ NAS), Army Headquarters Garrison (AHQ Gar), Headquarters, Command Army Records (HQ CAR), DADP and Guards Brigade.12 The network has not been officially launched to commence operations.13 13. The data centre is established for the creation of a central

database to address the problems posed by the different and inconsistent databases held by NAFC, DADP, AHQ MS and CAR. Currently, the central data centre is in Abuja with a backup in Lagos. A database of NA personnel and equipment has been created at the data center in Abuja.14 The information in the database would be used for human resource management and the management of NA inventory, payroll, biometrics and dynamic archiving. It would be shared by different users with different degrees of access through the NAWANI architecture. 14. The database incorporated into the NAWANI, though a laudable initiative may not adequately satisfy the various
12 13 14

Mazelli AC, Maj Op Cit. Ibid. Ibid.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED information needs of the entire NA. A comprehensive database must be planned based on the roles of the NA and the information needs of the entire NA. The expertise for the establishment of the data centre was provided entirely by contractors. There was equally no effort to train some NA personnel on database management systems prior to the commencement of the project to enable strict implementation of the project according specifications and afterward take over its administration. The NA may therefore consider setting a project team in consultation with NAS to plan the database taking into consideration the comprehensive information need of the NA now and in the future.

A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY SIGNALS DATABASE 15. The NAS mission is to provide reliable, secure and effective communications support for the NA in peace and war.15 The fulfillment and feasibility of this mission rest on a balanced
15

NC Ugbo Col Building a Modern Nigerian Army Signals: Issues and Options, Service Paper submitted to Combat Communication Department, NASS, April 2007. P. 2.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED organization of NAS personnel and materials. In order for the corps to manage its personnel and materials effectively, it has established a database of its personnel and equipment and the operational status of its units and personnel.16 This database can be queried for information on personnel and equipment for quick decision making in the corps.17

EQUIPMENT DATABASE 16. In NAS, communication equipment database was created

from the returns of communication equipment from all NAS formations and units. The information stored on the equipment database include the type of equipment, make, serial number, location, date of issue and condition of equipment. The database

16 17

EB Etuk Col (SO1 Systems, HQ NAS), Interview on 14 May 10. Sunday Rufus Okeowo, Cpl (Database Clerk, HQ NAS), Interview on 4 May 2010.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED can be queried to produce timely information on all NAS equipments.18 17. The database is however in a single stand alone computer system which is not linked to other cells for sharing of the data. Any staff officer looking for information on equipment could only access it through this computer. Efforts could be made to link the database to other cells in the headquarters to facilitate the sharing of the data. The equipment database could also form part of the effort to create a central database of equipment for the NA. Other corps and formations could also be encouraged to form their equipment database. PERSONNEL DATABASE 18. The NAS personnel database was created from personnel returns from all NAS units and formations. The information stored on each NAS personnel in the database include the name of personnel, rank, army number, date of birth, date of commission, state of origin and marital status. Other information stored in the database are units a personnel has served, courses attended with dates and grades, educational qualifications, next of kin, phone
18

EB Etuk Lt Col Op Cit.

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED numbers, blood group and genotype. The database can be queried to obtain information on every NAS personnel including current deployment.19 19. The database is made for efficient personnel management in the corps.20 The database is however currently created in a single computer and can only be assess through that computer. The retired personnel of NAS were not captured in the database. The database of retired personnel is necessary for accessing records of retired officers and discharged soldiers when required. Efforts could therefore be made by NAS to create a database for retired and discharge soldiers and to create a LAN for the sharing of the database in HQ NAS.

OPERATIONAL STATUS DATABASE 20. The NAS operational status database was established to assist the corps in taking quick and fair decisions when nominating units and personnel for operations.21 Information stored in the database
19 20

UG Ogeleka Lt Col (SO1 G1 (Manning), HQ NAS), Interview on 14 May 10. Ibid. 21 T Ojuoloruntaiye, Lt Col (SO1 G3 (Training), HQ NAS), Interview on 14 May 10.

RESTRICTED

10

RESTRICTED included the personnel name, rank and army number, operations attended with dates and appointments held. 21. The database did not capture the current deployment of NAS units, personnel and equipment in Internal Security Operations (ISOs) and Peace Support Operations (PSOs). This information is necessary to monitor the movement of NAS units, personnel and equipment within and outside the country. It will also assist when searching for the location of any NAS units, personnel or equipment in operation. There is the need for NAS to establish a comprehensive operational status database. LIMITATIONS OF NAS DATABASE 22. The current NAS database did not take care of information needs of some HQ NAS departments, formations and units. For instance the EW Department would need a database of all EW activities carried out by 58 SC for analysis. The G4 cell would require a database of accommodation status of all NAS personnel, vehicles, stores and equipment. HQ 57 SC would need a database of all the equipment back-loaded to it for repairs and the equipment that have been repaired and returned.

RESTRICTED

11

RESTRICTED 23. There is therefore the need for NAS to create a central database for the corps taking into consideration the various roles of HQ NAS departments, formations and units. The database could be made to satisfy all the information needs of NAS units and formations but with different degrees of access and views. There is therefore the need for NAS to consider the database technology approach for the establishment of its database to address these deficiencies.

THE DATABASE TECHNOLOGY APPROACH FOR ESTABLISHING A DATABASE FOR THE NIGERIAN ARMY 24. The database technology approach represents a different concept in information resource management. Data are viewed as important, shared resource that must be managed like any other asset, such as personnel, materials and finances. The database concept is rooted in an attitude of sharing common data resources, releasing control of those data resources to a common responsible authority and cooperating in the maintenance of those shared data resources. The data are stored so that they are independent of the programs that use them. A common and controlled approach is RESTRICTED
12

RESTRICTED used in adding new data, modifying and retrieving existing data. A database is not only shared by multiple users, but it is perceived differently by different users. For a database to be sustainable it must be thoroughly planned. PLANNING THE DATABASE 25. Database systems in the NA have not really been planned, but have evolved to solve the users problems. The NA started with the storage of documents or information in file cabinets and dissemination carried out through telex or SDS. When computers were introduced, they were mostly used for word processing, the processed information stored in files and folders and shared through Compact Discs (CDs) and flash drives. These information systems were concerned with procedures or application programs required to solve problems at hand. The problem with this approach is that the required organizational procedures are likely to change over time as the environment changes.

26. Database management on the contrast is based on the database requirements to satisfy the present and long term information needs of an organization. The advantage of the RESTRICTED
13

RESTRICTED database technology approach is that organizations data are not likely to change or will change slowly over time but the procedures used to access and process the data may however change many times during that period. Thus, the challenge of the database management is to design stable databases that are relatively independent of the languages and programs that are used to update the database. 27. The major objective of database planning is to develop a strategic data model which is a model of areas of information needs of the entire NA. The data model needs to be understood and supported by the various departments of the NA. The functional areas in AHQ are policy, plans, training, operations, logistics, administration, standards and evaluation. The functional departments in HQ NAS are telecommunications, Electronics Warfare (EW), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), logistics, training, operations and administration. The database could be planned to support these functions carried out at AHQ and HQ NAS. The functional areas for other corps, formations and units could also be identified and the database made to satisfy the information needs of the entire NA. PLANNING PROCESS RESTRICTED
14

RESTRICTED 28. Database planning has to be established as a project in the NA before building the database. A project team consisting of 10 members could be co-opted. The members have to represent a cross section of end users as well as database management personnel. The team leader could be a signal officer of the rank of colonel and a strong candidate for the Database Administrator (DBA). 29. The first task of the project team is to define the goals and objectives of the database technology approach. First, the project team needs to identify the problems and limitations of the previous attempts at developing a database for the NA. It could then identify the benefits to be achieved with the database environment. The anticipated benefits are then stated in form of goals and objectives that match with the NAs long term plans. 30. The project team then identifies and documents the business functions, processes, activities and entities for the NA. It then builds the database model which depicts the major entities for the NA and the associations between those entities. If data will be distributed in several physical databases, the study team develops

RESTRICTED

15

RESTRICTED a plan for data distribution. The team establishes a timetable and responsibilities for database implementation.

31. The database planning process is base on the Business System Planning (BSP) approach developed by International Business Machines (IBM) to assist organizations in establishing database design plan.22 The main phase of the BSP process is the business systems analysis.23 32. The business system analysis is the foundation of a comprehensive data plan. The goal of this process is to analyze the primary and secondary functions of an organization, identifying present and future information needs to support these functions. A graphical approach is used to indentify organizational functions starting with the major functions. Each of these functions is then divided into group of sub-functions called processes. Each process in turn, is divided into a set of elementary sub-functions called activities. processes Also, the business entities required by each of the are identified during the analysis. Graphical

representations of BSP for HQ NAS and AHQ are shown in Annexes A and B respectively. A BSP need to be carried out for all corps,
22 23

Fred R McFadden and Jeffrey A Hoffer, Op. Cit., P. 61. Ibid.

RESTRICTED

16

RESTRICTED formations and units so as to obtain a database that will satisfy the information needs of the entire NA. 33. Business functions are broad groups of closely related activities and decision that contribute to a product or organization life cycle. Business processes are decision related activities that occur within a function and often serve to manage people, money, material or information. The processes for the G (General) function in HQ NAS are G1 (Administration), G3 (Training and Operations) and G4 (Logistics). 34. Business activities are specific actions required to carry out a process. The activities for the G4 (Logistics) process in HQ NAS are transportation matters, administrative and logistics movement, holding and distribution of combat supply, holding and commandeering of material, catering services, and planning and allotment of accommodation among others. Business entities are persons, objects or events about which information is recorded in the database. The entities required by each of the processes are determined by examining the activities for that process and asking what entities are required for input, processing and output for each activity. If the process transportation matters is considered, it would be discovered that the entities are the vehicles, drivers, POL, RESTRICTED
17

RESTRICTED mechanics and vehicles dealers. Relationships between these entities are identified and form the building blocks for the development of the database. 35. The database for HQ NAS could be established by identifying the entities for all the processes of the G1, G3, G4, Telecommunications and ICT functions shown in Annex A. The data required to carry out these functions would be clear from the entities. A database would then be established to support HQ NAS. A sustainable database for the entire NA could then be established from this model. STRATEGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE DATABASE FOR THE NIGERIAN ARMY 36. The establishment of a sustainable database for the NA, requires some measures to be put in place to overcome the problems encountered by previous attempts of some AHQ departments and corps at developing one for the NA. The NA needs to adopt the database technology approach for the development of its database. The database technology approach would however require adequate funding and trained NAS personnel for its implementation. The full implementation of the
18

RESTRICTED

RESTRICTED NA ICT policy would be of great advantage for the realization of a sustainable database. FUNDING THE DATABASE PROJECT 37. The implementation of the database project requires a large investment of organizational funds and resources. An investment in new software products, additional hardware and new personnel skills would be required. This issue must be addressed right from the inception of the project. Adequate funding need be available right from the inception to completion stage of the project. 38. The NAWANI project when fully operational would provide

the infrastructure required for the project thereby reducing cost. The data centre built into the NAWANI would provide the infrastructure for the storage and sharing of data within and between units in the NA.

TRAINING OF PERSONNEL 39. The level of IT skills in the NA is generally low. A drastic initiative is required to salvage the situation if the NA would be required to improve its information management capability. However, NAS personnel need to be trained in basic computer RESTRICTED
19

RESTRICTED literacy, software development, applications software and in specialized areas such as systems operations and database management. This will equip them for the challenge of managing the database. 40. The recent proposed career plans for NAS personnel by the Commandant NASS which recognize ICT as a trade will help to reposition NAS personnel for the challenge of information management in the NA. The cyber caf and Internet Hotspot established by the Commandant would assist students in the school to get use to surfing the internet. This knowledge will help the students after their courses when deployed to work on the NAWANI database project. The number of personnel presently trained in the school on ICT in NASS is not adequate to meet up with the demand of personnel to man the database in all corps, formations and units. The school could consider expansion to create room for more students on ICT. Commanders would also need to improve the low standard of IT awareness in their units. This is aim at addressing the ICT skills of soldiers in order to establish a strong ICT culture in the NA. NIGERIAN ARMY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY POLICY

RESTRICTED

20

RESTRICTED 41. The NA ICT policy spelled out the philosophy, objectives, structure, strategies and funding of the NA ICT.24 The policy also identified the need for the establishment of secure and distributed NA data centers linked to the NAWANI to provide on-line information, data sharing and easy administration at all levels.

42. The strategies outlined for achieving the objectives of the ICT policy when fully employed would provide the backbone for a sustainable database for the NA. These strategies include establishing ICT infrastructure backbone for the NA through NAWANI and encouraging ICT skills acquisition through training in military and public institutions to have a high rate of skilled ICT personnel. It also include deliberate and adequate budgeting for and funding of ICT infrastructure, activities, and training. IN CONCLUSION 43. Currently, DADP, NAFC, AHQ MS and HQ CAR, maintain 4 separate but similar personnel databases for the NA. The software DADP used to establish the databases was source locally and could not be updating online. The department could not however acquire
24

NA ICT Policy Publication. P.

RESTRICTED

21

RESTRICTED the genuine software due to inadequate funds and this thwarted its efforts at maintaining a central database for the NA. There is therefore the need for the NA to always make adequate funds available whenever tasks of this importance are been undertaken by any directorate (Paragraphs 8 - 12). 44. A database of NA personnel and equipment has been created at the data center linked to the NAWANI network. The database, though a laudable initiative may not inadequately satisfy the various information needs of the entire NA. A comprehensive database must be planned base on the roles of the NA and the information needs of the entire NA. The expertise for the establishment of the data centers was provided entirely by contractors. The NA may therefore consider setting a project team to plan the database taking into consideration the comprehensive information need of the NA now and in the future. (Paragraphs 13 15). 45. The database approach represents a different concept in information resource management. Data are viewed as important resource that must be managed like any other asset. A database for HQ NAS could be established by identifying the entities for all the processes of the G1, G3, G4, Telecommunications and ICT RESTRICTED
22

RESTRICTED functions. The data required to carry out these functions would be clear from the entities. A database would then be established to support HQ NAS. A sustainable database for the entire NA could then be established from this model (Paragraphs 22 - 35). 46. The NA could adopt the database technology approach as the strategy for the development of a sustainable database. The database approach would however require adequate funding and a number of trained NAS personnel for its implementation. The full implementation of the NA ICT policy would be of great advantage for the realization of a sustainable database (Paragraphs 36 - 42). RECOMMENDATIONS 47. It is recommended that: Adequate funding should be provided for the database project (Paragraph 42).
a.

The NA should set up a project team to plan the database (Paragraph 43).
b.

c.

Should adopt the database technology approach for the establishment of its database and afterwards be used as a model for the NA (Paragraph 44). RESTRICTED
23

RESTRICTED
d.

The NA should fully implement the ICT policy (Paragraph 45). TEAM A (Sub Team B)

Apapa-Lagos Jun 12

RESTRICTED

24