Army readies 3-D design program

The Army wants to start a new information technology program that helps design weapons in a three-dimensional computer environment.

The Army's planned Advanced Collaborative Environment (ACE) is in development at the service's Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS), Col. Wells Barlow said this week in an e-mail. He is deputy program executive officer for the Army Enterprise at the Fort Belvoir, Va.-based organization.

The Army already uses a similar computer-simulation tool in the Future Combat System program now under development.

"It is our intent to build on the success of the FCS ACE and to incrementally develop an Army ACE that provides a common, collaborative, digital environment that can satisfy a high percentage of the life cycle data management needs of our acquisition programs." said Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, in an Aug. 26 memo.

PEO-EIS will host the Future Combat Systems ACE office at Fort Belvoir, but the initiative remains under control of its program manager, Brig. Gen. Donald Schenk, Barlow said. The service used FCS ACE — which lets engineers immerse themselves in the weapon systems — to help design the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon, an automated howitzer that will fire for the first time this fall.

In other Army news, the service's IT shop assumed responsibility for four new programs Oct. 1. They include:

-- The Standard Procurement System, which provides Defense Contract Management Agency directors better access to award data.

--The Reserve Component Automation System, which gives Reserve commanders mobilization information.

-- The Distributive Training Technology Project, which offers e-learning program to Guard members.

-- The Force Modernization System, which delivers Army force structure authorizations, requirements and documentation.

PEO-EIS likely received the four IT programs because of the success stories of 10 systems in Iraq it oversees, including the Defense Communications and Army Switch System and the Defense Communications and Army Transmission System programs, officials said. The office also probably assumed control of them because of a major Army reorganization to align acquisition programs with acquisition managers, and because of the timely award Sept. 12 of the hardware contracts for the service's crucial Information Technology Enterprise Solutions initiative, they said.

The three-year, $500 million ITES program will support the Army's enterprise information-processing goals with IT hardware and services. PEO-EIS will award the ITES support service contracts in mid-October.

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