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31 March 2015

Tablets Headed to Your Navy Sea-bag the Pros and Cons

A recent article on the Navy Times website announced in April 200 Tablets will be distributed to a test Group of new recruits and trainers.   According to the article MCPON Stevens believes it to be a way forward the Navy MCPON stated “This is really the tip of the iceberg with regards to training,” Stevens went on "one day a sailor will sign up in the Delayed Entry Program and we will issue them mobile technology, and it will become their career companion, and everything they do with regards to personnel and personnel training."

As an IT I like the idea of having a tablet.  I can see many good things but I also can see some bad.  Here is a list of a few pros and cons of this proposal.


Communication- One of the biggest problems in the Navy is Communication.  I think this could provide an amazing form of communication for any command.  POD’s/POW’s could automatically be uploaded to everyone’s tablets.  Tasked could be assigned, updated and tracked by the chain of command.  Email could be available anywhere providing a better link back home.

Checking in and out- When you check- in all the required PQS’s and command check-in sheet could be uploaded to your tablet saving a lot of paper.  When leaving a command your NSIPS data could be saved to the tablet and go with you to the next command.

Knowledge- You could hold so much information in someone’s tablet.  The books from every school you attend would always be at your fingertips along with schematics and instructions.  All the info you could ever need to complete your job would be inside the tablet eliminating SO many pubs.  


Cost- The cost of a tablet range from $34 to $8k on amazon but the average is $400.  With 300k sailors in the navy it would cost $120 million to give every sailor an average priced tablet.  That being said the tablet would be more than the average tablet since it would have to be built to MILSPEC and be  able to take a beating. That leads into the next issue.

Durability- I’ve had 5 tablets in the last 4 years.  My Nexus 7, Toshiba Thrive, and Nook HD all broke on the ship, two were in my backpack.  Durability will be a big issue people will have to replace tablets left and right.

Theft- If you have been on a ship you KNOW stuff gets stolen.  I’ve seen people lose anything from a Ball Cap to a PlayStation 3.  On my first ship a sailor was stealing laptops and selling them out in town.  This problem will be hard on to address because of how easy it is to hide a tablet then make a quick buck from selling it.

OPSEC- OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC that is what they tell us every five minutes.  I know it already is an issue but you KNOW someone will take there tablet out when on liberty and you know they will lose it. 

When the Navy implemented computers into Navy life in the late 80s they had many issues and adaption by sailors was slow.  Almost 30 years later and still we are not using computers to their full potential.  For tablets to be productive and successful the Navy will need fast adaption by sailors for the venture to be worth the tax payer’s money.  

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