Sailors with smart phones can now access and use official U.S. Navy mobile “apps” providing important services such as training, pay data, career services and life-cycle management information, Navy officials said.
The emerging program was inspired by sailors accustomed to using Androids and iPhones; they approached the Navy leadership and explained the need for them to use apps and interact with the world in the way people using smart phones can today.
“This came as a need from our sailors. They approached the Chief of Naval Operations,” Kenneth Johnson, Technical Director Sea Warrior Program, Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, told Defense Systems in an interview.
Johnson explained that the number of function apps has now grown to more than 12 apps available to sailors, an effort which began with the first app 18 months ago. The maturation of the program is designed to consistently collect and incorporate feedback from sailors, he added.
“We are the IT folks. We know how to create the app, but we are not the end user. We understand the realm of the possible,” he explained.
With input from Navy sailors, the mobile apps developmental cycle was accelerated to get technology to the force on an expedited schedule.
“Typical acquisition cycle can take six-plus months to get from a requirement to out the door,” Johnson added.
Navy PEO EIS has been working closely with the service CIO to ensure the apps are designated and accessible as official U.S. Navy apps.
Anyone with Apple or Google app stores can access the publicly available content. Since the first app was offered about 18-months ago, there have been 114,000 downloads and 5,000 cases of sailors completing courses from their mobile devices, Johnson said.
Training program mobile apps include the latest on key issues of relevance to sailors such as domestic violence, operational security, emergency contact information and suicide prevention, among others, Johnson said.
Moving into the future, the Navy is working on a pilot that will permit sailors to download their app and see their own individual information, similar to banking apps.