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Surface Forces: Damage Control Tactical Management System
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August 22, 2007: The U.S. Navy is continuing to take advantage of LAN (local area networks) now installed in most ships. A major new feature made possible by the LAN is DCTMS (Damage Control Tactical Management System). This is basically a laptop computer equipped with damage control system software. The DCTMS laptops are stored in the damage control lockers (large closets, scattered around the ship, holding gear needed for fighting fires, making emergency repairs and providing first aid). When the ship suffers a hit, or some other major damage, sailors assigned to damage control duty, go to their assigned locker,  grab the needed gear and get to work. But one of the sailors fires up the DCTMS laptop, plugs into the LAN, and keeps in touch with the bridge (and damage control center), and the other damage control teams. Because the data is sent electronically, it is saved on the ships servers, and provides the captain, and all the damage control teams, a real-time view of what's happening, and what happened. Before DCTMS, the information was transmitted by phone or radio, and status was only seen on the bridge or damage control center, where sailors updated data using grease pencils. If a fire or flooding force a damage control team away from their locker, the  DCTMS laptop can be carried away and plugged into another LAN connection.

 

The DCTMS also makes possible more realistic training drills. That's because damage control scenarios can be run through the software, as leaders of the damage control teams respond with the right, or wrong, solutions. Or you can just train the officers and sailors manning the damage control center, where they have to figure out the best overall strategy to save the ship.

 

Ships are also being fitted with wireless networks, as a backup, or supplement to the wired LANs.

 

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