Army launches app store prototype
Soldiers can now access 12 mobile applications on personal smart phones and tablets as part of the Army’s latest efforts in establishing an online storefront for mobile software.
The Army Software Marketplace is a prototype for a future one-stop shop where soldiers can access and download applications to any device that’s been approved to run on the Army’s under-construction common operating environment.
“The Apps Marketplace is at the center of Army efforts to radically reduce the time to deliver applications across the force,” Army CIO/G-6 Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence said in a March 20 blog post. “This prototype is a first step in establishing and exercising new submission and approval processes that will eventually enable Army members, organizations and third-party developers to release applications for Army-wide distribution.”
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While the current app store features publicly facing applications only for iOS devices, it’s expected to support Android platforms in the near future. Currently, the available apps, developed by Army training schools in the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps initiative, are education-oriented and designed to deliver training to the point young soldiers use most: their mobile devices.
The prototype storefront is part of broader Army efforts to institutionalize agile development and faster cycles for designing and fielding software – plans modeled on the private sector’s approach to software development.
In 2010 the Army launched its Apps for the Army challenge, an application-development competition that drew 53 submissions for apps designed for a range of uses, including physical training, mental health, disaster relief, mapping and recruiting.The following year, a post on the Army CIO/G-6 blog noted the service would launch another round of the challenge, although it isn’t clear if that happened.
Army users can access the app store at www.marketplace.army.mil.
Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering defense and national security. Connect with her on Twitter: @AmberInsideDOD.