Uncle Sam wants you… to develop an app for the Army.
Although the Army’s recent announcement was largely overlooked everywhere across the media landscape, MAW quickly took notice at how the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command — or TRADOC — has just established its own online app store “to bring the command’s body of knowledge to Soldiers where they are most likely to ingest it: online and on the move.”
Lt. Col. Joseph A. Harris Jr., who serves as TRADOC capability manager for mobile learning, seems to believe that modern times call for such efforts.
“Most Soldiers have a mobile device of some sort: a cell phone, a tablet, or something,” Harris is quoted in an Army announcement drafted by C. Todd Lopez. “They are using those devices every day to get the information they need. And usually, that’s through a mobile app of some sort. What we are trying to do is ensure that we use what they are using already in order to get the information to them. We have a digital Army, and Soldiers have that digital mindset – and we are just capitalizing on that.”
The new app store will serve as a place to make currently available apps accessible to soldiers. But, perhaps even more exciting, is that the Army’s platform encourages future app development. Soldiers can either make requests of the developer community or develop apps themselves.
To access the app store, the Army announcement explains, Soldiers can point their mobile devices to www.adtdl.army.mil (they can subsequently log in with their “Army Knowledge Online” credentials).
Matthew MacLaughlin Jr., TCM-M’s senior mobile instructional design specialist, is quoted in the release explaining that that the few apps up now on the TAG “are part of the evaluation for the site.” Within a few months, however, they fully anticipate being able to make available on the TAG from 100 to 150 apps that support three mobile platforms.
At present, there is a “team of six developers” at TCM-M equipped to handle in-house development of apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
“Anybody can request an app,” MacLaughlin says, quickly noting again that soldiers can also developer their own. “We want to empower them and give them guidance on how to build their mobile applications correctly.”