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3/20/2012
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Army Launches Mobile Apps Store Prototype

Army mobile apps store starts off with 12 apps for iPads and iPhones, with Android apps to come later.

10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
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Several months later than expected, the Army has launched a prototype of a planned mobile application store with new iOS apps developed for soldiers through a military smartphone program.

The Army Software Marketplace, which an Army official previously said would go live last November, now has 12 iPhone and iPad apps available for use throughout the Army that were created through the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps (CSDA) initiative.

The Army launched CSDA in 2010 to test the usefulness of giving soldiers access to mobile devices and customized apps for use both in the field and during training, and later expanded the program.

[ The federal government is doing a lot of interesting things with mobile apps. Read Feds Fight Homelessness With Mobile App Challenge. ]

The mobile apps store, which the Army envisions as the linchpin of a burgeoning mobile strategy that also includes a number of other projects, also will have Android-based apps available for all mobile devices that have been approved for use on the Army Network's Common Operating Environment, said Army CIO Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence in an < a href="http://www.army.mil/article/75966/">article on the Army website.

"The Apps Marketplace is at the center of Army efforts to radically reduce the time to deliver applications across the force," she said. "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."

Apps now available to soldiers on the site include the Army's initial entry training guide, The Soldiers Blue Book ; Army Values; Army Social Media Handbook; and Developing a Performance Work Statement.

The CSDA community will continue to submit apps to expand what's available, and has been employing agile software development practices to create apps for the site, according to the Army. These methods include increasing the collaboration between end users and developers early on in the development cycle as well as delivering apps in short release cycles.

Other Army mobile plans to support Department of Defense CIO Teri Takai's focus on mobility across the entire military, include building an Android-based battlefield network to support a range of custom-built applications soldiers can use on the battlefield.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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