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NEWS | March 9, 2020

Army Reserve mobile app keeps Soldiers connected to units

By Joe Lacdan U.S. Army News Service

The U.S. Army Reserve's mobile application, the Double Eagle App, is now being developed by the 75th Innovation Command, lawmakers were told last Tuesday.

The Army Reserve released the app in early 2019. Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, touted it early last year as a powerful recruiting tool to help the Army meet its end-strength goals.

"It's better than it was when I reported last year," Luckey told the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee hearing Tuesday, but added, "It's still not where I want it to be."

Luckey said that he would like the app to remain current and relevant for Army recruits in the 18- to 20-year-old age group.

The mobile app has a user-friendly interface similar to messaging applications such as WhatsApp. It's designed to help increase Soldier readiness by providing a secure medium to connect Soldiers to their commands and one another.

Soldiers can also use a special capability in the app called "Refer a Friend," where they can refer potential recruits immediately by tapping a button. The potential recruits will then be in immediate contact with an Army Reserve recruiter.

Other interactive features include push notifications, live polling, a group messaging capability and an option to share locations. Soldiers can also provide accountability simply by using the check-in option when arriving at a new duty station, training exercise or unit meeting.

The Army Reserve has set a 189,800 end-strength goal for fiscal year 2021 — a marginal increase from its 2020 goal, and Luckey said the app should be able to help in reaching that number.

The app's ability to connect Soldiers to command teams could also have an impact in helping prevent Soldier suicides, Luckey said. Using an "Emergency Safety Check" option, leaders and commanders can communicate with Soldiers by locating them.

Unit leaders can access the "Leaderbook" tool, which allows them to send alerts to their units and manage command information.

The 75th Innovation Command, which is designing the app, is a Reserve command headquartered in Houston. It was established two years ago to help drive modernization and technology advancement in support of Army modernization and to advance readiness and lethality.

"They are now supporting this element with some of the best app developers in the country," Luckey said.

Army Futures Command, located three hours west in Austin, Texas, works in coordination with the two-star Reserve command to drive modernization efforts. The 75th IC provides access to private-sector innovation and recruits technology innovators to the Army Reserve.

"This is an ongoing effort to make sure we are not missing opportunities to make sure we are very closely connected with the private sector," Luckey said. "And making sure we are gaining and retaining talent that is working in the private sector and in other aspects of the public sector."

While suicides within the Reserve has declined in recent years, Luckey said that the problem continues to remain a concern. The general said that Soldiers who remain unemployed or underemployed will be closely watched. A recent report showed that 50 percent of Soldiers who committed or attempted suicide either were unemployed or did not have sufficient employment.

"That obviously becomes an added stressor for them," Luckey said. "I would argue that it probably increases their sense or lack … of self-worth. The app is going to be critical for us to be able to increase that connectivity in the other 28 days of the month. But also enables to help better help our Soldiers find meaningful employment."