Apps for the Army Challenge Offers Cash Awards 

3/3/2010 

            The Army announced March 1 its first internal applications-development challenge.

            The program, called Apps for the Army, or A4A, gives Army personnel the opportunity to demonstrate their software- development skills.

            Open to all soldiers and Army civilians, the challenge's top submissions will be recognized at the LandWarNet Conference in August.
            Winners will receive monetary awards from a cash pool totaling $30,000.

            Marvin Wages, program manager for A4A, said "making Apps for the Army a challenge with cash awards provides participants additional incentive to create an application. It also creates more interest" in the competition.

             The Army's G-6, who is coordinating the A4A challenge, hopes the contest will improve current service capabilities or add new ones - - all through the ingenuity of soldiers and Army employees.

             "We're building a culture of collaboration among our Army community to encourage smarter, better and faster technical solutions to meet operational needs," Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, the Army’s chief information officer, G-6, said.

             "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," Sorenson said. "And, we're rewarding their innovation with recognition and cash."

            Participation in A4A is limited to the first 100 Army personnel, to include active duty soldiers, Army Reserve and Army National Guard on active duty, and Army civilians who enroll.

            Only Army personnel can participate.

            Teamwork is encouraged, but not required, officials said, and participants can submit multiple entries.

            A4A applications may tackle any aspect of Army information technology - distributed training, battle command, career management, continuing education, or news and information distribution, for example. A4A will use the latest in collaborative development media, G-6 officials said.

            "Apps for the Army features an innovative cloud computing service for participants to use during software creation," Sorenson said. "This is key because it eliminates the constraints of hardware provisioning prior to prototype evaluation."

            The service, provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency and known as the Rapid Access Computing Environment, or RACE, offers access to on-demand virtual Windows and Linux development environments.

            Participants will be able to use 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.

            Forge.mil will serve as the collaborative software repository for competitors.

            The tools inherent in milBook and AKO will facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, problems and solutions relevant to the Apps for the Army initiative.

            The registration form, rules and instructions are located at the Apps for the Army Web site.

            Rolling registration began March 1, and apps must be submitted by May 15.

            Address questions to >>CIO/G6ArmyApps@conus.mil

(Editor’s note: This article is based on an Army News Service story.)