Does the future of battlefield soldiers lie in real-time software programmers?

How do we win in a VUCA world? In case you are not familiar with VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. I wrote about it being 2020, find it here on LinkedIn We Live In A VUCA World.

This is about building a whole new way to handle this VUCA future with a software backbone that enables soldiers to thrive in this VUCA world. Where Soldiers Are Brought – Near real-time sensors and equipment with constant updates to help outmaneuver the enemy. How do we make the user want to use the feature quickly when it often needs to be edited in real time?

The soldier creates the software in real time where he can program on the edge…

Hannah Hunt is the Chief Product Officer of the US Army Software Factory. She is a member of the Forbes Under 30 class of 2021 and is leading a process for the US Army to train the future soldier to be a battlefield programmer. This idea, and how it’s brewing in the Army’s software factory, is perhaps the greatest possible force multiplier for the next decade or more.

There are three key thoughts and ideas from Hannah that illustrate both the challenges and the new methods of developing a truly agile environment that will stand the test against an increasingly VUCA world.

· The key idea is to bring real-time, software-driven capabilities (equipment, sensors, data) right into the soldier’s hands, allowing them to orchestrate the support and impact needed where and when it matters to them. This isn’t a dramatic change in idea, but it is a dramatic realignment that software is the strategic weapon to achieve this. The value here is bringing all that power to the field. In a new world filled with threats that can erupt almost instantly, this ability in the field and in the moment will be key.

· For the idea of ​​joint command to become a reality by 2030, the transition to a software-centric interface between command and front will be crucial. Shifting this software-centric view so that data, decisions and agility can be at the forefront is an essential part of this evolution. This is about intelligence and coding at the very edge.

· While the Software Factory currently has thirty slots, all Soldier Coders are from the Army. The talent did not have to be recruited externally and each program slot was promoted by ten soldiers. The role is a three year engagement with a very strong focus on training and then problem solving. This shifts software development from the waterfall-based model of traditional development to a truly modern agile method.

The idea of ​​a software-driven future may seem normal to all of us, but to effectively implement this idea in defense requires a radical shift in how those in conflict must use software in real-time to learn and adapt to disposition. The history of technology leaps has often been initiated by radical changes in the way defense forces have deployed technology. This is the next chapter in this story. This idea of ​​a software-driven future is changing the way decisions are made outside of the operations center and directly into the edge. This means more than just changing the way the Army does business. This prepares the Army for a new software-centric edge world of 2030 and beyond as we interact with the world. A far cry from the Boston tea dump that started a revolution so many generations ago. Happy July 4th, 2022.

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