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DD Form 1391 Processor system vital to MILCON

Huntsville Center Public Affairs Office
Published Sept. 23, 2020
Workers build a facility at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Huntsville Center has been responsible for fielding, operating, maintaining and training users for the DD Form 1391 Processor System since 1980. The system covers a broad spectrum of unique needs and requirements associated with policies and procedures governing DD1391 forms, which are used for submitting requirements and justifications of funding requ

Workers build a facility at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Huntsville Center has been responsible for fielding, operating, maintaining and training users for the DD Form 1391 Processor System since 1980. The system covers a broad spectrum of unique needs and requirements associated with policies and procedures governing DD1391 forms, which are used for submitting requirements and justifications of funding requests for military construction to Congress.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --The DD Form 1391 Processor System is a web-accessible system used by the Department of Defense to submit requirements and justifications in support of funding requests for military construction, or MILCON, to Congress.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides policy and management of the worldwide MILCON programs assigned to the Corps, the Defense Department’s designated construction agent responsible for building and delivering facilities and infrastructure supporting the Army, Air Force, and other defense agencies.

The DD Form 1391 assists users in preparing, submitting, reviewing, correcting, printing and archiving DD Forms 1391 and related data, in accordance with Army Regulation 420-1, "Army Facilities Management."

In the last century, DD Form 1391 preparation, submittal, review and correction was completed through printed forms staffed and submitted through Defense Department delivery systems. Manual maintenance of the form was very time-consuming because of the frequent number of design modifications.

However, as technology improved, so did the DD Form 1391 Processor system; and Huntsville Center played an important role in the evolution of DD Form 1391 automation.

While today most take computers largely for granted, use of computers for engineering tasks was still relatively rare in the 1970s. This development focused primarily on simplifying repetitive mathematical tasks (through adding machines) or to assist with large calculations. Most of these computers were mechanical. Introduction of the microchip helped to greatly reduce the size and increased the processing speed of computers and in a short time, large mainframes gave way to microcomputers in 1973 and personal computers in 1976. Suddenly, it became possible and affordable to provide enterprise access to computers capable of assisting with engineering tasks.

Army Regulation 18-1 divided development of information systems into three phases: planning; development; and installation, operation and maintenance, which separated actual creation of software from long-term maintenance.

Since use of computers for engineering was still relatively new, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, Illinois, had taken the lead in planning and developing computer-aided engineering and design systems.

Headquarters USACE lacked the resources to deploy and maintain the systems after development, so in 1978 it assigned Huntsville Division as agency responsible for testing and maintaining computer-aided engineering and design systems.

In 1980, met with CERL personnel to resolve processes for handoff and evaluation of several systems. Over the next few years, Huntsville Division personnel worked closely with CERL to test, correct, document, deploy and maintain these systems including DD Form 1391 Processor software.

In the late 1970s, CERL developed the software to review, edit and automatically populate the form. It created a unique tracking number, updated funds based on parameters entered, tracked changes and allowed review of comments.

Huntsville Division tested and deployed the system in 1980. During testing, the primary problem encountered was using distributed systems via computer networks.

AUTOVON lines used for military networks included additional electronic coding to allow override of routine calls and signals, which interfered with the software’s use, although it was possible to use the program on normal commercial lines.

Initial use determined that the program was not broad enough and was too expensive to use, so Huntsville Division conducted a study, updated the software, and launched the new program in September 1982.

The primary change was to port the software to the operating system.

By 1983, the division started completely redesigning the system to transform it from a program for the Corps’ Headquarters to check data on the 1391s to an Army-wide processor to meet broader congressional requirements.

The division reduced the number of blocks to fill out, enhanced functionality, and upgraded the database.

By 1987, there were 800 users of the system, which stored 26,000 forms.

However, given the patchwork of changes made since 1980, the system was still very complex and difficult to manage.

As a result, Huntsville Division set out to modernize the program in 1988 and collaborated with the Idaho National Engineering Laboratories to rewrite significant portions of the code.

Over the last 30 years, Huntsville Center personnel have continued to improve the DD Form 1391 Processor system to cover a broad spectrum of unique needs and requirements associated with policies and procedures governing DD1391 Forms and related documentation including a tool used to correctly estimate project costs; summary of projects by installation, fiscal year and program and congressional addendum modules.

Approximately 1,800 users worldwide currently access the system, which contains more than 35,000 forms.

For more information on the DD Form 1391, click here.