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NEWS
PCARD May Redefine Military Resupply Efforts
August 23, 2017

Throughout history, keeping soldiers supplied with the essentials required for mission success and personal survival has been an ongoing challenge. To solve part of this challenge, soldiers have had to rely in large part on what they could carry on their backs. Today, Marines in the field usually carry at least three days’ worth of supplies, which can weigh up to 100 pounds, depending on situation and mission.


Staff Sgt. Alex Long’s project, the Personal Combat Assistant and Reporting Device (PCARD), is a suite of smart products, including a device that’s about the size of a smartwatch. Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Alex Long/Marine Corps.

But now, according to information provided by DEFENSETECK, one Marine’s invention of an innovative ecosystem of smart products aims to resupply troops in the field and significantly reduce the weight they carry.

One of 18 winners in the 2016 Marine Corps Innovation Challenge, which solicits innovative ideas from Marines, sailors and government civilians, Staff Sgt. Alexander Long V has created a logistics platform and a family of smart products that could increase resupply efficiency while reducing pack weight. Long said much of that weight is consumables and hopes his project can reduce the overall carried weight by 33 percent.

“We spend so much effort and money in trying to make gear weigh less,” he said, “when we really should be leveraging technology to improve resupply.”

His project, the Personal Combat Assistant and Reporting Device (PCARD), is a suite of smart products, including a device that’s about the size of a smartwatch. These smart products will allow fire team leaders and everyone in the chain of command to determine mission-critical needs in “real time.” This new capability means that a fire team leader can order food, water and other basic supplies as easily as ordering a pizza back home in the States.

Squad leaders would be equipped with a tablet connected to all team wearables. Platoon commanders can then access that information and assess what is mission-critical and make immediate decisions for resupply.

“I saw an opportunity to help Marines in the field to get what they need, as quickly as possible, and reduce the overall carried weight,” Long said.

A prototype of the device was developed by Long and a collaborative team from defense contractor MD5, as well as a team from the University of Southern Mississippi. The PCARD prototype was then tested by undisclosed Marine units and is scheduled for further field testing at Camp Pendleton in October.


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