WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 1, 2010) -- The Army has announced an internal applications-development challenge, dubbed "Apps for the Army" or A4A.

Open to all Soldiers and Army civilians, A4A offers Army personnel the opportunity to demonstrate their software-development skills and creativity. Top submissions will be recognized at the LandWarNet Conference in August. Winners will receive monetary awards from a cash pool totaling $30,000.

In return, the Army's Chief Information Officer and G-6, Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson said he hopes the contest improves current service capabilities or adds 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," said Sorenson.

"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 (active-duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard on active duty, and civilians) who enroll. Teamwork is encouraged, but not required, officials said.

A4A applications may tackle any aspect of Army information technology - distributed training, battle command, career management, continuing education, or news and information distribution. A4A will further deviate from traditional development practices by using 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 noted. "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 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.

Forge.mil will serve as the collaborative software repository for competing teams. 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 on the AKO portal: http://www.army.mil/ciog6/armyapps. Registration lasts from March 1 until May 15. Questions can be addressed to CIO/G6ArmyApps@conus.mil.

Page last updated Mon March 1st, 2010 at 10:07