FORT STEWART, Ga. — “Solving modern problems with modern technology,” is a common phrase said among 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers in the Marne Innovation Program, a program aimed at providing Soldiers with a place to explore their ideas and turn them into reality. This week, Soldiers from across 3rd ID put that notion to the test.
As 3rd Infantry Division kicked off its annual Marne Week celebration, the Marne Innovation Program joined the celebration by hosting the Marne Innovation Challenge at the 3rd ID Maker Space on Fort Stewart, Georgia Nov. 28, 2022.
“The Marne Innovation Challenge was an opportunity for Soldiers to present problems facing their battalion, and their ideas to solve them in a competitive environment,” said 1st Lt. Chris Aliperti, 3rd ID deputy innovations officer.
During this challenge, teams from all over 3rd ID provided a 5-minute presentation to a panel of judges that included senior leaders from across the Department of Defense, academia and industry. The finalists not only competed for Marne Week points, but also for the opportunity to work with one of 3ID’s innovation partners to bring their idea to life.
“Teams that presented today will get to work with 3ID partners that heard them pitch their ideas today to further develop their ideas,” said Aliperti. “The next step is the Marne Innovation Workshop at Georgia Tech where these ideas will be further developed by teams of Soldiers with students and researchers.”
The Marne Innovations Program started in June 2021 and made an instant impact by signing an educational partnership agreement with the Georgia Institute of Technology in August of that year. The program identifies current capability gaps within the 3rd ID then works with industry and academic partners to rapidly identify, develop and implement solutions while fostering a culture of a bottom-up innovation; solving today’s problems with today’s technology.
Spc. Salem Ezz, an infantryman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd ID, has been working on a tool dealing with mold awareness.
“It’s great programming software for this and working with the Marne Innovations Program because it’s something the Soldiers will benefit from — I’ve lived in the barracks and can empathize with that issue,” he said.
Ezz continued by encouraging Soldiers to get involved with programs such as this because of the potential impact it could have on present and future 3ID Soldiers.
The 3rd ID is currently on a modernization path that includes new equipment, weapons and vehicles across the division. The Marne Innovations Program complements this modernization push by focusing on enhancing and broadening its Soldiers intellectually through new industry and academic partnerships, and in new directions for problems.
Innovation fosters a culture of development for Soldiers by giving them technical skills learned through education while also giving time back to the Soldiers so they can focus on honing lethality. Those benefits contribute to any mission the Marne Division receives, whether it’s deploying, conducting garrison operations, or modernizing the force. As modernization continues across the Division, the Marne Innovations Program will provide Soldiers an outlet for Soldiers to innovate and solve problems.