MARCH 23, 2016, STAFFORD, Virginia – Intelligence Marines from throughout the Marine Corps presented software they created to leaders of the Marine Corps Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Enterprise accelerator program in Stafford, Virginia, March 4, 2016.
The accelerator program is a 12-week course that brings Marines back into the development process of the gear they will use in the future. One of the things that spawned from this course was the C-ME program which allows Marines from anywhere to quickly and easily communicate with each other through a virtual map.
This accelerator program is helping Marines get exactly what they need to do their jobs.
“When a product gets kicked out, it’s not exactly what the Marines wanted,” said Buddy Steshka, a technical support specialist at ManTech International
Corporation. “A way to correct that is by having the users drive the design. They tell you what they want and how they want it, and you let the engineers figure out how to put it together and make it work.”
The 12-week course allows Marines to work closely with these engineers to make their solution a reality.
“The accelerator program is more important now than ever because it puts Marines right with the developer,” said Steshka. “Working with them week in and week out, constantly double checking the progress and overviewing what they have created to make sure that it stays in line with their desires.”
The first week of the program revolves around concept design. Marines are trained to think outside of the military mindset and discover the main problem they are trying to solve throughout the week.
“One of the most difficult parts about the program is trying to define a problem that will address both intelligence and operations, and working together to make sure that problem can be fixed,” said Master Sgt. Tiffany Winfrey, a geospatial chief at II Marine Expeditionary Force, and a participant in the accelerator program.
Marines learn to be more open-minded and are even encouraged to draw out their ideas to get both sides of the brain working.
“By Thursday of week one, everything comes together. They’ve broken that initial way of thinking and have started to get their problem down to a granular level,” said Steshka.
They start a design cycle to create a minimum viable product or prototype of their solution during weeks two and three.
For the remainder of the course, the Marines and engineers constantly evaluate the product to make sure it is fast, easy to use and effective.
At the end of the program, the accelerator teams are asked to present their product to MCISRE leaders. This is the final step to see how useful the product is going to be.
This course brings Marines from all over the intelligence community to make change where they feel it is needed.
“I think this program is great because it lets Marines know no matter your rank you have a voice to implement change,” said Winfrey.
The MCISRE accelerator program is looking for more Marines to help develop the future of the Marine Corps.
“Send us more Marines,” said Steshka. “The more Marines, the bigger cohort we have, and the younger they are, the greater these products are going to be.
“It is important that they are younger because we are building these things for the next generation.”
Any intelligence Marines that are interested in being part of the program are encouraged to contact Jennifer Edgin, the HQMC Intelligence Department Chief Technology Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 614-2522.