Army improves power planning software to gain efficiencies
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 16, 2019) -- The Army has delivered improved software this year that is helping units model and analyze power layouts for command posts, field hospitals and tactical operations centers.

The Auto Distribution Illumination System Electrical, or AutoDISE, software is designed to enhance a unit's ability to assess, plan and implement tactical power infrastructure. Army planners, engineers and units can use the modeling results to optimize power performance, increase the efficiency of power infrastructure and improve reliability.

The Army's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center -- or C5ISR Center -- developed the system in support of Army Project Manager Expeditionary Energy and Sustainment Systems in 2000. Feedback from the field has driven advancements; today, it is used by approximately 2,600 Department of Defense service members around the world.

"As C5ISR Center continues to implement and receive feedback on AutoDISE, we continue to discover new needs and expand the capability," said Beth Ferry, Power Division chief for the C5ISR Center. "The power demands of the battlefield are rapidly increasing, so we're always looking to optimize power capabilities and efficiencies in power planning. To that point, we've made three key additions to AutoDISE that will upgrade power management. Effective and reliable power is a combat multiplier for units."

The program enables a user to create a 3D model of a tactical operations center, or TOC, with topography. A virtual walkthrough provides the commander with a bird's eye view that includes visibility of all components and equipment.

C5ISR Center's first modernization effort added a function to model and simulate energy storage systems and renewable power sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Renewables would complement traditional fossil fuels to meet mission requirements. This allows the user to understand how new or hybrid technologies can improve the efficiency or quality of the power solutions.

"The software allows for adjusting environmental factors like wind speed; temperature; relative humidity, both mild and extreme environments; and elevation. Based on these calculations, we know if it's feasible to convert these renewable sources to usable power and integrate to the grid," said Noel Pleta, the C5ISR Center's lead AutoDISE instructor.

The next upgrade is enabling units to calculate the effect of camouflage netting and solar shades on the electrical load of a command post or tactical operations center. Pleta said this could lead to energy savings as personnel would better understand when and where to place the netting around vehicles, tents and buildings.

"Camouflage netting changes the dynamics by absorbing solar rays," Pleta said. "The software can adjust based on the orientation of the sun based to recommend changes to netting. Blocking the hot sun reduces demand on cooling systems and cuts energy consumption."

The final modernization effort is the capability for Soldiers to select the optimum type of fuel for use. AutoDISE accomplishes this by calculating the rate at which the TOC will consume standard DoD fuels -- JP-8, DF-2 and F-24. Selecting fuel usage in AutoDISE is important because depending on which fuels are available on-site, commanders can model, simulate and plan for how much fuel and what type of fuel is needed, Pleta said.

The next initiative underway is to improve the unique power, power distribution, water and wastewater distribution networks modeling and simulation tools for the new field hospital design under Army Medical Department, or AMEDD.

"AutoDISE's AMEDD toolbox will be developed to accommodate the requirements governing the new surgical and medical augmentation design," Pleta said. "Understanding policies and system configuration in hospital areas, like surgical rooms and intensive care units with CT scanners and oxygen generators, will be used to develop models."

The application is scheduled for completion in September 2020.


The C5ISR Center is the Army's applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army's primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.

The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

For more information, contact the C5ISR Center Public Affairs Office at

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Army Project Manager Expeditionary Energy and Sustainment Systems