Since 1979, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (formerly the Ballistic Research Laboratory) has been developing the BRL-CAD constructive solid geometry (CSG) modeling package for a wide range of military and industrial applications. The strength of the package lies in its ability to build realistic models of complex objects from a relatively small set of "primitive shapes" by employing the basic Boolean operations of union, subtraction, and intersection and by assigning real-world material attributes.

The package comprises a large collection of tools, utilities, and libraries including an interactive geometry editor, ray-tracing and generic framebuffer libraries, a network-distributed image-processing and signal-processing capability, and an embedded scripting language.

Although BRL-CAD has continued to mature in performance and utility, developers have strived to keep the package approachable and easy to use, as evidenced by the package’s dual command formats, its newly renovated graphical user interface (GUI), and its customization potential through user scripting.

In addition, a multivolume tutorial series is being developed to assist users in a variety of BRL-CAD areas and applications. The "Introduction to MGED," which is the second volume in the series, is intended to provide new users with a basic understanding of the Multi-Device Geometry Editor (MGED), which is the heart of the BRL-CAD package. Other volumes focus on installation procedures, advanced features, and programming.