Army looks to the public for innovation


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The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is hosting a Make-A-Thon event Dec. 9-13 to create a mobile command post for a lightweight all-terrain vehicle in Ft. Benning, Ga.

Engineers, in conjunction with soldiers, will build a prototype of a command post based on crowdsourced ideas from an Army website.

“What we expect at the end is a locked-down design,” said Gary Frost, deputy director for futures at REF. “The design could be a cardboard cutout.”

This is the first of two events. At the second event, the Army will actually build a working command post, which will then be tested by soldiers and scrutinized by an online jury.

About a month ago, the Army posted the project on its Army CoCreate website and solicited help from anyone who had an idea. The Army will now have the chance to put those ideas to the test.

“There are a lot of solutions out there, and there are a lot of people we could get to, if we had a year to go find the solution,” Frost said. “For the REF, we have to figure out how, in a very short period of time, to get the most users and the most material solution providers together.”

The challenge is to fit a command post with communications, computers, intelligence and surveillance capability. The post must also be able to serve 30 to 150 soldiers. Crowdsourcers were asked to focus on mobility, weight and transportability among other attributes.

“If we are going to keep being fast and innovative, we can’t just do it on our own,” Frost said.

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Applications & Software, Army, Defense Landscape, Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, Federal Election Commission, Gary Frost, Military, open source, Tech
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