The US Army has joined the ranks of government agencies courting developers by announcing a new competition called “Apps for the Army” (A4A). The competition aims to promote some fresh ideas and practical web and mobile applications for use within the military:
Apps for the Army is a web and mobile application development challenge for active duty Army, National Guard and Army Civilians. $30,000 in employee cash awards, as well as public recognition are up for grabs. Do you have what it takes to build an app that delivers real value to the Army warfighter or business user? This is for you!
The competition runs from March 1st to May 15st 2010, and is limited to Army and National Guard personnel only. Twitter users can follow the buzz with the #apps4army hashtag.
The competition is being run in conjunction with the team at iStrategyLabs, who have lead innovative government-focused app contests like Apps for Democracy. The video below gives details on the contest:
Entrants will be able to use the Army’s cloud computing services (.doc):
The service, provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency and known as the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE), offers access to on-demand virtual Windows and Linux development environments. Participants will be able to pursue Web application development using all available programming languages supported by Windows Server and the Linux, Apache, MYSQL and PHP (LAMP) frameworks. They also will be able to build emulated Blackberry, iPhone and Android applications.
Forge.mil, which is the Defense Information Systems Agency’s open source code and software repository, will serve as a collaborative software repository for the competition. However, open source does not mean open access – forge.mil is only available to U.S. military, DoD government civilians and DoD contractors for government authorized use.
Given that this is the first contest of its kind, we’re looking forward to seeing what sorts of applications .mil developers create.