U.S. Army Europe beat out Microsoft and Infosys to win an award for innovation earlier this month.

On Oct. 5, the Society for Human Resource Management, an international professional human resources group, gave USAREUR’s Blue Box the group’s Innovative Business Solutions Award for 2005.

A collection of 15 publications, the Blue Box aims to get soldiers, families and Army civilians ready for deployment and redeployment.

“To go outside and to have corporate America say this is the best program we’ve ever seen … is a huge step for us,” said Brig. Gen. Rusty Frutiger, USAREUR’s top personnel officer.

Frutiger describes the Blue Box as “a how-to and communication guide for our soldiers and families.” Much of the information is directed at people who aren’t familiar with life in and around the military.

It took nearly two years to develop the publications in the Blue Box, Frutiger said, and the Pentagon is adapting a version of it for wider use. Each publication covers a different deployment-related topic, such as finances, coping with separation and what to expect after deployment.

This was the first year for the competition, which drew 141 entries in four categories. USAREUR competed against 64 other entries from around the world.

To date, about 40,000 hard copies of the Blue Box have been distributed in Europe, and its Web site gets between 1,800 and 2,000 hits a day.

The Blue Box is available at bluebox.

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