DOD is soliciting the help of young digital innovators across the country to help step up COVID-19 contact testing at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to a News and Observer article republished by

The partnership is bringing together a North Carolina startup called MindSumo and DOD’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) to solicit ideas from students across the country on how to better automate identification and contact tracing of potential COVID-19 patients.

Fort Bragg leaders said they have about 43 people working on contact tracing, but NSIN’s Tommy Sowers said it is complicated.

“Right now, it is brute force – lots of phone calls and spreadsheets and a lot of manual tracking,” Sowers said.

MindSumo, based in Durham, reports having a community of 450,000 users who help companies and organizations crowd source solutions to real-world projects.

“We are basically getting a lot of smart people to help us be more self-aware,” said Col. John Melton, commander of Fort Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center. “There is a saying that if everyone is thinking alike then no one is truly thinking. This is a great opportunity to leverage all these individuals looking at a problem in a different way.”

Proposals are being accepted through MindSumo until May 29, with cash prizes awarded to the top ideas.

Army photo by Spc. Hubert D. Delany III