April 27, 2011
Slideshow: Next Generation Defense Technologies (click for larger image and for full slideshow)U.S. military personnel now have immediate access to munitions information and a support network for wounded soldiers thanks to two mobile applications released by the military.
Through a partnership with federal IT services company Serco and Oklahoma State University, the Army's Defense Ammunition Center has created the Ammunition Multimedia Encyclopedia (AME) mobile application, which provides information about and virtual-reality simulations of new munitions the Army is using, according to an Army online news resource. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense (DOD) has created a mobile version of its National Resource Directory, an online site to connect wounded warriors, service members, veterans, and families with those who support them, according to the DOD. The AME, targeted toward military personnel who are in the field handling, packaging, and inspecting ammunition, is available as part of the Army's Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications (CSDA). The program offers smartphones and custom applications to soldiers both in the field and in the classroom to help them perform duties better and more efficiently. The Army is offering applications for various mobile applications via the program, including both Android-based devices and iPhones. Currently, there are 180 munitions items in the AME available for viewing through the Ammunition Community of Practice, and 100 more will be added in 2011, according to the Army. The Army developed the application three years ago but it's just now going into full production and use, it said. The DOD created the National Resource Directory website and mobile application to accommodate the more than 3,000 new users searching the site each day for information, it said. It's designed to appeal to a younger generation of wounded soldiers and veterans from some of the more recent U.S. military engagements. The directory has had an online site since 2009, with 90,000 users per month, according to the DOD. It offers nearly 14,000 resources and services to help military personnel move into civilian life. Advice for resume writing, job interviews, and information about veterans' benefits and compensation are some of the services available on the site. Users can search the site by audience-specific topics as well as by location. The federal government across the board has been proactive in leveraging the smartphone platform to help better engage with employees and the public alike. The FBI, IRS, NASA, and the White House are just a few federal offices that have created custom mobile applications for both iPhone and Android-based devices. The U.S. military--the Army in particular--also has embraced the trend. In addition to its CSDA program, the Army recently said it's building an Android-based mobile framework to support a range of custom-built applications soldiers can use on the battlefield.
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