Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers looking to secure their next stint on active duty orders are now able to do so from their own couches — and on their own mobile devices — thanks to Carrera, a new app developed by the Army Software Factory in Austin, Texas.

The app was developed to satisfy an order from Congress in the fiscal 2022 defense bill that required the Army to make mobilization opportunities for reserve component troops available for browsing on personal devices. Previously, the opportunities were only accessible through the NIPR network-only Tour of Duty portal.

At any given moment, the Army is trying to fill hundreds, if not thousands, of temporary active duty tours with reservists.

But in late 2017, the portal for searching those vacancies moved onto the government network, meaning that Guard and Reserve troops without take-home government computers could only browse and apply for those vacancies from an armory. That put a burden on some who live hours away from where they serve.

The new app goes beyond the order, though, and delivers an unprecedented level of access: soldiers will now be able to browse listings from their mobile devices or other devices without Common Access Card readers after they initially set up a username and password through the service’s identity management portal.

Work on the application began in August, Army Software Factory officials told FedScoop last month. They developed it in coordination with the Army’s operations directorates and senior Army Reserve leaders, said Robyn Mack, an Army Futures Command spokesperson.

The development team also asked soldiers and units seeking reservists what they wanted to see from the new portal — and mobile accessibility was near the top of their list.

Mack added that Carrera will also allow the service to harness “data insights that the Army can use to inform job planning and outreach.”

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.

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