By Steve Stark
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Sept. 3, 2014) — As the result of budget constraints and the cost of print production, the Army has not printed its traditional coffee table-style Weapon Systems Handbook for the last two years. However, because of the publication’s popularity, the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), which produces the handbook, created a Web-based version for this year. Like a lot of good print products—the phone book, the encyclopedia, to name just a few—the 2014 Weapon Systems Handbook is going digital.
Readers can currently find information on 30 key systems at that website, and the program executive offices (PEOs) are adding new systems and updating system information on the remaining programs. As those programs are updated, so are the descriptions. The goal is to give visitors to the site a better, completely up-to-date understanding of the acquisition community’s efforts to provide Soldiers with the most advanced and sustainable equipment possible.
“The move to a digital product simply makes sense,” said Nelson McCouch, chief of USAASC’s communications division. “While we all love the gorgeous full-color coffee table book, the digital format is cheaper to produce, easy to navigate and provides us the capability to keep information current and timely.”
For each system, the site provides program descriptions, projected activities, and system interdependencies, as well as information on contractors and foreign military sales. Mission statements outline how each system benefits warfighters, combatant commanders and support personnel, and the site can be sorted by several parameters, including contractor, state and PEO.
Some of the features that come with the Web-based version include the ability to search by PEO and state, and watch a video highlighting the system.
McCouch also noted that a designated Army Weapon Systems app may be considered in the future.
In addition to providing the handbook, the USAASC has also re-introduced its “System of the Week,” which showcases weapon systems through its website and social media platforms every Wednesday.
USAASC’s communications division produces the Army’s Weapon Systems Handbook, the award-winning Army AL&T magazine, and the award-winning Access AL&T news site, in addition to a variety of content relevant and timely to the Army acquisition community.
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