US Army plans app store for troops

The Army Marketplace, which is due to launch in August, will launch with a selection of applications, including training manuals and productivity tools. Future applications are expected to help map out terrain, locate friendly forces and translate foreign languages.

“The current process of [army] software creation is a very long and arduous process. That’s how we do things. But app development needs to be done quickly,” Lt Col Gregory Motes, chief of the US Army’s mobile applications branch.

The Army Marketplace will host 17 for Android phones and 16 for iPhones, though the US government has not yet certified any mobile device as secure enough to access its networks. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology has begun certifying the iPhone but is still months away from finishing. No Android handsets have even begun the process yet.

Soldiers will also be able to use the Marketplace to ask for apps that haven’t been built yet. A forum within the store will let soldiers specify the app they need and allow fellow soldiers and designers to discuss how it might be built.

Though British Army is yet to announce its own app store, soldiers with the Royal Artillery have been using specially-developed iPad apps as part of their training.