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CHIPS Articles: Marine Corps Director IC4 Issues Software Coding Innovation Challenge

Marine Corps Director IC4 Issues Software Coding Innovation Challenge
Leveraging the MCBOSS DevSecOps ecosystem
By Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, Director IC4, Deputy Commandant for Information - March 26, 2021
MARADMINS Number: 164/21
R 242030Z MAR 21


GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. Situation. This MARADMIN serves as an announcement of the first micro-application development innovation challenge. IC4 requests each MEF to assemble, and authorize the duty efforts of, one Coding Team from their cadre of technically skilled personnel to research, engineer, test, and deploy a micro-software application that will either reduce operational friction, optimize workflow, increase Unit Readiness, or alleviate administrative burdens across any warfighting function. MEF Coding Teams will be authorized to utilize Marine Corps resources such as time, equipment, and facilities. Furthermore, the MEF Coding Teams will utilize the Marine Corps Business Optimization Support Services (MCBOSS) Development-Security-Operations (DevSecOps) ecosystem to rapidly develop software in support of the challenge. This challenge tests the theory that, given the right resources, talented Marines across the MOS spectrum can design and deliver software capabilities that can enable and expand efficiencies from tactical to strategic level. IC4 recommends that the Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group take the lead within their respective MEF to assemble and lead the MEF’s Coding Team in support of this challenge.

2. Concept of Operations. The first step of this challenge will begin with each MEF Coding Team submitting one or more Micro-App proposals. Scheme of Maneuver in support of this initiative follows four key phases: Proposal Phase, Panel Selection Phase, Execution Phase and After Action Phase.

2.a. Proposal Phase. Each MEF Coding Team provides as many micro-application software development concepts as they wish to submit. Each concept proposal should clearly scope the problem or challenge they want the micro-app to surmount. The proposal should also articulate what capability their micro-app would provide to support the MEFs. MEF Coding Teams shall submit their proposal to the following link: https//

2.b. Panel Selection Phase. An Enterprise Panel will review and select the best proposal from each MEF Coding Team. This Panel will approve only one proposal for each MEF Coding team. The mission of the Enterprise Panel is to ensure that concepts proposed for development are within the scope of this challenge.

2.c. Execution Phase. The execution phase follows four key stages.

2.c.1. Training Stage. During a one-week period, the MCBOSS Program Office will provide each the MEF Coding Team an overview of the MCBOSS ecosystem and specific training on their chosen software factory and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline (Static Site, PEGA, Tanzu, C2S2-SAE, or Appian). MCBOSS Program Office will also provide Agile training for each coding team, helping them organize and plan on achieving a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) of their micro-application within the allotted time.

2.c.2. Micro-Application Development Stage. MEF Coding Teams will conduct a 90-day sprint to engineer the MVP of their micro-app inside MCBOSS, in an accredited software factory. MEF Coding Teams’ coding activities will be conducted from their present duty station via Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) or approved commercial internet White-Line. MCBOSS Program Office provides on-call technical support as necessary.

2.c.3. Demo Stage. MEF Coding Teams provide demonstration of their final product to their MEF and the Enterprise Voting Panel.

2.c.4. Voting Stage. Enterprise Voting Panel reconvenes to evaluate and determine the winning MEF Coding Team. Evaluation criteria will be based on three broad factors: applicability to the force on an enterprise level, software’s ease of use, and capacity to decrease workload while increasing efficiency.

2.d. After Action Phase. After action survey completed during this phase. Reports will inform subsequent innovation challenges. Additionally, during this phase IC4 will determine if developed micro-application software will transition to enterprise support and become available to the Fleet.

3. Scope. Innovation challenge is restricted to the unclassified network. Additionally, proposals should not include active interface or interoperability with existing Programs of Record.

4. Participation Consideration.

4.a. MEF Coding Teams are encouraged to solicit participation and ideas across all MOSs.

4.b. MEF Coding Teams should be made up of only Active Duty personnel.

4.c. Each MEF Coding Team should be limited to six (6) personnel.

4.d. Recommended Technical Skills.

4.d.1. Experience with front-end or back-end web application development.

4.d.2. Experience with automated software testing, scanning, and continuous integration.

4.d.3. Programming experience in an object oriented language.

5. Incentives. Winning MEF Coding Team will receive a combination of awards. Additionally, developed micro-application MVP could potentially transition to enterprise Marine Corps-wide resource. Innovation Challenge winners will be provided an opportunity to conduct an outbrief with senior leadership in order to showcase developed products.

6. Timeline.

6.a. NLT 9 April 2021: MEF Coding Teams provide their proposals and participation roster.

6.b. NLT 16 April 2021: Enterprise Voting Panel approval proposals.

6.c. Between 19-23 April 2021: MEF Coding Team receive technical training from MCBOSS Program Office.

6.d. Between 26 April – 23 Jul 2021: MEF Coding Teams perform micro-app coding activities.

6.e. 26 Jul 2021: MEF Coding Team conduct demonstration for Enterprise Voting Panel.

6.f. 29 Jul 2021: Enterprise Voting Panel select winner of the innovation challenge.

7. Admin and Logistics.

7.a. All products, items, and materials submitted for or associated with this challenge shall be the property of the USMC due to the circumstances associated with the subject applications’ development efforts, for example, but without limitation, USMC authorizes duty time for development of the subject apps by USMC personnel who utilized USMC resources.

7.b. Marines will review the aforementioned website link for additional information, guidance, submission materials, and terms and conditions.

8. Command and Control. Commanders are encouraged to support participation of all Marines that desire to participate in this event. Commanders are also encouraged to permit Coding Teams to utilize duty hours during the course of this challenge.

9. Funding. HQMC IC4 will support all funding in support of the innovation challenge based on pre-approved scope.

10. Release authorized by BGen Mahlock, Director IC4.//

Download MARADMIN 164/21 here

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