Air Force testing tech for e-forms

The Air Force announced today that it is trying software from PureEdge Solutions Inc. for the operational tests of a four-year, multimillion-dollar contract aimed at securing the myriad electronic forms used by service personnel.

The Air Force has about 14,000 e-forms that are used by more than 700,000 members worldwide, and the PureEdge technology will help transform those static electronic documents into an interactive e-business model based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), said Brian Nutt, chief operating officer of the Canada-based company.

XML enables agencies to "tag" data and documents so it is easier to exchange information among applications and systems. It offers users the ability to create rich electronic forms and enables them to describe the meaning and context of a form's contents, which facilitates sharing the data with other applications.

The Air Force is testing PureEdge's secure Internet Commerce System (ICS) software, which creates, deploys and manages secure XML forms, enabling online transactions.

Air Force laboratory tests have been completed at PureEdge headquarters, and final operational tests are under way at Air Force bases around the world, including seven in the continental United States as well as bases in South Korea, Turkey and Germany. When the software passes the operational tests at those 10 bases, the Air Force and the company will implement XML solutions for the millions of e-form transactions made each year, Nutt said.

"The goal is to be more responsive to the warfighter," he said. "Our technology allows the Air Force to exchange data using open-system standards, and not just replace current forms, but process re-evaluation to make the data more accessible and more relevant."

The Air Force would not comment on the project until a formal contract award is made, according to a service spokesman.

Enterprise Information Management, in Rosslyn, Va., is the technology integrator and is managing the overall project. The test phase should be completed shortly and be followed by a formal contract award in July that could be worth "well into seven or eight figures," Nutt said.

The Air Force and PureEdge worked through some minor glitches as part of the testing, but overall, the program has gone "smooth as glass," he said.

PureEdge's other federal customers include the National Institutes of Health, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC uses the solution for EDGAR, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system, a database of corporate filings that receives about 1 million hits daily.

The company, which also maintains office in New York City, expects to announce its next government customer win in the next 30 days, Nutt said.


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