The Army Futures Command’s Army Software Factory – established in 2020 with a goal of developing capabilities to create custom-built system applications for current and future U.S. Army systems – is ramping up its workforce with several cohorts already introduced to the program, a factory official explained at a September 14 virtual conference organized by FCW.
Hannah Hunt, Chief Product and Innovation Officer at the Software Factory, said the factory recently took in its third cohort of personnel. She said the factory takes in a 30-person cohort every six months for three-year assignments, and is aiming for a “steady state” staffing of about 200 people in total.
The most recent cohort, Hunt said, is participating in a “technology accelerator” portion of their training, while the oldest cohort is now busy building software.
The factory, she explained, is “focused on upskilling soldiers” so they can build software using cloud services, agile development, and harnessing the innovative spirit of the country.” Specific duties, she said, involve product management and design, and software engineering.
In addition to the advantages of building an in-service team to create custom-built software, “the real goal is we reduce vendor-led support,” Hunt said, and develop a true service-led software creation organization. Part of the factory’s solicitation of ideas is directly from Army personnel, who are invited on the factory’s website to submit ideas.
“Our ultimate vision,” she explained, is to employ “organic software teams” across the Army to create software at the edge of networks, “because that is what the battlefield is going to look like.” Another operational goal is to create teams of 8-10 people each “and build something that will provide value.”
“We want to make sure that soldiers can code at the edge,” she emphasized.
“Software is never done,” Hunt said, “so we are constantly adding additional features and capabilities.” She added, “we are never in sustainment mode.”