Army eyes Kessel Run model to boost software capabilities

software (whiteMocca/ 

The Army is looking to bolster its in-house software capabilities by building software factories like Kessel Run, the Air Force's agile software development program.

The Army's chief technology officer, William Robinson, said the service is planning to emulate the Air Force's model as part of a larger effort to better prepare soldiers to manipulate cloud-based applications, including those that perform data analytics, in the field.

"We're going to have to move computing to the edge, and as we move computing to the edge it's able to process the data at the locations to be able to synthesize the information and then roll up only the critical component up inside of the big data platforms," including multi-domain operations, Robinson said May 19 during a virtual event on C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence) put on by AFCEA International and George Mason University.

Robinson said soldiers on the ground will have to be able to manipulate application programming interfaces (API) to connect the application to the network to the weapons platform and stay ahead of the information curve that commanders need to do analytics with AI and machine learning.

The Kessel Run software factory, which is one of several across the Air Force, gained acclaim in recent years for its ability to quickly develop and deploy software solutions just like commercial companies.

And with that head start, the Army has a veritable blueprint to "have uniform software developers and software engineers designing and being able to run out iterative capabilities across the Army," Robinson said.

Robinson didn't elaborate on the service's exact plans for creating a software factory but said it hinges on the Army's cloud initiatives, driven by the newly stood up enterprise cloud office, and the future focus would be on mission command applications and platforms.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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