Sorenson to announce Apps for Army challenge

Army to reward smart Web and mobile application development

The Army is expected to announce March 1 the start of its "Apps for the Army” challenge—a program aimed at accelerating the creation of new and improved Web and mobile applications for use across the Army.

The design challenge borrows a page from similar efforts, such as the federal government’s Apps for America program, to spur information users and developers to craft new software applications quickly.

“Soldiers and army civilians will be creating new mobile and web applications of value for their peers—tools that enhance warfighting effectiveness and business productivity today," said Army Chief Information Officer/G-6 Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson.

Sorenson originally announced the program last September as a way to tap the Army’s own expertise to improve its operating capabilities. But the program ran into a series of operational and budgeting hurdles last fall.

As constituted now, the program will be open to 100 applicants and is limited to Army personnel. Winners will receive monetary awards totaling $30,000 and their work will be recognized at the Army’s LandWarNet Conference in August 2010.

The design challenge will permit the development of applications that tackle a range of Army information technology needs, including distributed training, battle command, career management, continuing education, or news and information distribution.

The program also expects to deviate from traditional development practices by utilizing collaborative development media, including cloud-computing services being provisioned by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

DISA’s Rapid Access Computing Environment offers access to on-demand virtual Windows and Linux development environments and Forge.mil, a collaborative software repository.

Participants will be able to pursue Web application development using all available programming languages supported by Windows Server and the Linux, Apache, MYSQL and PHP (LAMP) frameworks. They also will be able to build emulated BlackBerry, iPhone and Android applications.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of Defense Systems from January 2009 to August 2010. He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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