Marines teaming with Army on 3-year software factory pilot

American flag in code

American flag in code. (Graphic by Breaking Defense)

Updated 3/10/23 at 4:34 pm ET with new information from Bahk.

WASHINGTON — Under the Pentagon’s first-of-its-kind “collaborative software development,” the Marine Corps hopes to figure out how to speed up software solutions in a new three-year pilot that is co-located with the Army’s software factory, the Marine Corp announced today.

The Marine Corps Software Factory (MCSWF) “will train Marines to deliver software solutions using agile methodologies for commanders to implement technical solutions at the speed required to accomplish their mission,” according to a press release. The software factory will be led by the service’s service’s chief information officer, Deputy Commandant for Information Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy.

“The Marine Corps Software Factory is about outcomes, creating advantage for Marines at the tactical edge, today,” Glavy said in a statement. “The MCSWF will provide viable capabilities to enhance mission readiness through the power of information.”

Selected Marines will go through three phases under the three-year pilot. The first is a three-month technical accelerator which will establish a baseline skillset. Then the Marine will be teamed with a technical expert from industry for one-on-one mentoring. And finally, the Marine will take those skill-sets and flow them back to real-world uses. Those who complete the full course will be given the applications developer military occupational specialty, the release says.

“The MCSWF will leverage recent endeavors in talent management, partnerships with industry, and innovations in cloud technology,” according to the press release. “The MCSWF will work closely with Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) to ensure ease of career implications for program participants and to ensure software factory outcomes are optimized across the modernization enterprise.”

In a statement to Breaking Defense, Lt. Col. Charlie Bahk, the director of the software factory, said that approximately 50 Marines will go through the factory pipeline in its initial three-year effort.

“Every six months, eight Marines will begin the technical accelerator. As they graduate and begin the pair-programming and utilization phases of the pipeline, eight additional Marines will begin the technical accelerator,” Bahk said. “Marines inside the MCSWF will build software applications for the Corps as part of a Software Squad (SWS), consisting of 6 Marines. A Software Squad (SWS) is comprised of three roles; product manager (PM), product designer (DSN) and software development engineer (SDE). A SWS consists of one PM, one DSN and 4 SDE.”

Co-located with the Army Software Factory (ASWF) in Austin, Texas, the MCSWF is the Defense Department’s first collaborative software development.

As part of the MCSWF pilot, the software factory “has established a formal agreement with the ASWF showcasing the first collaborative software development in the DoD,” according to the press release. “Partnering with ASWF will accelerate Marine Corps software development modernization efforts at a significantly reduced cost.”

In July 2020, Army Futures Command established its Austin-based soldier-led software factory to teach soldiers software skills. Last year, Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, said he expected the software factory to operate for “at least” five more years. 

Source link