PEO EIS farewells HQAES, sends environmental data to Army headquarters

By Erika ChristJanuary 18, 2024

U.S. Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) officially shut down its Headquarters Army Environmental System (HQAES) product office Jan. 13, transferring the Army’s environmental program data to the Web Compliance Assessment and Sustainment System-Enterprise (WEBCASS-E) at the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS), G-9. WEBCASS-E, a commercial off-the-shelf system used by the Army for over 20 years, will serve as the replacement program and the Army’s enterprise system of record for environmental data.

Developed in the wake of the Army IT business transformation of 2010, HQAES went live in May 2016 and was transferred from DCS, G-9 to PEO EIS for management in fiscal year 2018. As the materiel developer, EIS established the HQAES product office within what is now known as the Defense Integrated Business Systems (DIBS) portfolio and began managing all aspects of project execution.

Since 2018, the HQAES team supported six semi-annual Army environmental data calls, which required Army installations to update and submit their site-level environmental cleanup cost-to-complete estimates within the system. In the most recent data call from spring 2023, over 2,700 sites reported a total cost to complete of $10.35 billion for environmental restoration projects and a total environmental financial liability of $35.3 billion, up from $28.2 billion reported in the spring 2022 data call. These results were reported to the DOD’s Knowledge-Based Corporate Reporting System for review and submission to Congress.

Other achievements by the HQAES team included completing several enhancements and major upgrades of the system software, significantly reducing the number of Tier 3 help desk tickets and revising procedures to improve the system’s cybersecurity posture.

By 2020, the DCS, G-9, which has continued to serve as HQAES’ functional proponent, decided that HQAES did not have the full set of capabilities required to become the Army’s enterprise system of record and therefore would eventually be shut down. While HQAES successfully had executed the Army’s Cleanup/Restoration/Liabilities (CRL) program, it couldn’t technologically support other programs like Environmental Quality or the Environmental Performance Assessment System.

The WEBCASS-E system was able to do so, however. After completing an analysis of alternatives and a subsequent proof of concept for CRL, the DCS, G-9 decided in November 2021 that WEBCASS-E would become the Army’s authoritative solution.

“By transitioning into WEBCASS-E, Army commands and installations will have an integrated platform used for the entire Army Environmental Program,” said Brian Moyer, chief of environmental quality at DCS, G-9, and the WEBCASS-E program manager. “This will result in saving the Army over $9 million per year in IT computing, licensing and service costs.”

The new system, which incorporates an enhanced, intuitive user interface hosted in a cloud environment, will improve data management efforts and lead to better data integrity and more robust reporting, according to DCS, G-9.

Once the transition decision was made, PEO EIS’ HQAES team began overseeing the high-priority effort to end the program and transfer all data to WEBCASS-E. Under former Product Lead Pete Cloutier, HQAES started a termination plan and began developing an interface to transfer 200,000 documents and artifacts in three waves to WEBCASS-E. As a risk reduction initiative, the team conducted contingency planning in case the scheduled cutover date was delayed — a strategy that proved sound when EIS was asked to sustain the system for an additional year.

“The HQAES team went above and beyond in managing and sustaining the HQAES system over the past six years,” said Kevin Curry, project manager for DIBS at PEO EIS. “Through their efforts, the system helped environmental specialists protect our land, air, and water resources, thus enabling Army operations, maximizing readiness, and protecting Soldiers, families and communities.”

While the HQAES system was officially decommissioned Jan. 13, EIS’ team of civilian, matrix and contractor personnel will continue to wrap up shutdown activities through the end of the month.