Thu, October 28, 2021


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US Army pairs military coders with Silicon Valley

The US military is experimenting with a ‘new’ training programme that pairs military personnel with civilian experts to improve operational capability. (Sound familiar? View our ‘ORigin Story’ animation.)

Driven by the difficulties of recruiting a ready-made, skilled cyber workforce, the US Army hopes to train up its own ‘battlefield coders’ who will be able to ‘prototype, develop and morph applications’ for use in theatre, on operations and on base.

The new capability will help improve applications which will do everything from managing weapon systems and organising a squad’s task schedule to connecting soldiers to job openings within the Army and planning preventative maintenance on defence infrastructure.

Groups of 25 troops will be posted to the Army Software Factory, based at Austin Community College in Texas (ACC) every six months. They will be paired with Silicon Valley experts to learn how to act as a product team, prototype solutions and ― using feedback from fellow soldiers ― build for production.

Army Futures Command Commander General Mike Murray said, “[the partnership is] going to force us to think differently. There’s nothing but goodness here in terms of bringing fresh ideas to solve problems.”

Following a period of further development and work in the wider army context, these graduate coders will later return to the Army Software Factory to teach the next cohort of trainees.

Speaking at the recent AUSA Conference (the Association of United States Army’s annual meeting), programme co-director Lieutenant Colonel Vito Errico said, “There is a variety of [military occupational specialties], a variety of ranks. We don’t really care what rank you are and where you went to grad school. The idea is to put rank aside and promote ideas.”

The ACC was chosen because of its ACCelerator Learning Lab and because it already offers a bachelor’s degree in software development. It will now offer training in data science and artificial intelligence, in partnership with private software development companies.

The programme is still being piloted by the US’ Army Futures Command, which will decide if or how the project will be scaled up in the future.

More at: ArmyTimes.com