The Army Wants Killer Apps, Not Perfect Apps

Maj. Gen. Mark Bowman, the Army's deputy chief information officer, says there are two hurdles slowing the Army's quest to arm soldiers with smartphones on the battlefield. One is the intellectual property associated with developing the software applications those phones use, he told an audience attending a Defense IT panel sponsored by Government Executive Media Group, to which Nextgov belongs:

"If somebody at Lockheed Martin develops a killer app, yet somebody from [General Dynamics] says, 'You know, I think I can make that even better,' how do we work out the intellectual property associated with that? How do we work out the monetization?"

The other problem is the Army's tendency to strive for a perfect solution. "We should never do that. We should get the requirement and then we ought to test the thing in an abbreviated fashion -- very abbreviated -- and then make a decision on whether to move forward," he said.

"Just because it doesn't do 100 percent of the stuff doesn't mean the soldier doesn't want it today," Bowman said.

And what would be a real killer app? A decent battery, it turns out: "There is no battery that holds a charge long enough or is light enough for our liking. Period."