BOX S.1

Eight Myths About Defense Software Producibility

  1. The DoD’s software producibility challenges are predominantly challenges of management and process but not of technology.

    • (See Findings 1-1, 1-3, 1-4, 2-5, 4-2, 5-2 and Recommendations 1-1, 4-2, 5-1.)

  1. The DoD and its contractors can rely on industry to innovate at a rate fast enough to solve the DoD’s hard technical problems and to stay ahead of its adversaries.

    • (See Findings 1-3, 1-4 and Recommendation 1-1.)

  1. Software technology is approaching a plateau, which diminishes the need to invest in technology innovation.

    • (See Findings 1-5, 5-2 and Recommendations 4-2, 5-1.)

  1. The software research community is doing potentially relevant theoretical work, but it has not led to advances of compelling importance to the DoD.

    • (See Finding 5-1.)

  1. We have not yet developed effective mechanisms to mitigate the risks, particularly those related to scale and adoptability, associated with the transition to practice of innovative software-development technologies.

    • (See Findings 3-2, 3-4, 3-5, 4-2, 4-3 and Recommendations 2-1, 3-4, 4-2, 4-3.)

  1. We will never create perfectly reliable and secure software, so we should focus primarily on provenance—trusted sources—rather than attempting to achieve assurance through improvements in practices and tools for evaluating artifacts directly.

    • (See Findings 4-1, 4-2 and Recommendations 4-1, 4-3.)

  1. There is sufficient software research already underway, sponsored primarily by NSF and other basic science agencies, to meet the DoD’s software needs.

    • (See Recommendations 1-1, 5-1.)

  1. Earned value management approaches based on code accumulation are a sufficient basis for managing software development programs, including incremental iterative development.

    • (See Findings 2-3, 2-4 and Recommendations 2-1, 2-2.)

1.
RECOGNIZE THE PIVOTAL ROLE OF DOD SOFTWARE INNOVATION

The continued increase in the DoD’s dependency on software is well documented by the Defense Science Board (DSB) and in multiple National Academies reports.3,4,5,6 This increase amounts to an order of magnitude of lines of software code every decade, and it is a natural consequence of the distinctive advantages of software as an engineering medium. Software is uniquely unbounded and flexible, can

3

Defense Science Board (DSB), September 2007, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Mission Impact of Foreign Influence on DoD Software, Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. Available online at http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA473661. Last accessed August 20, 2010.

4

DSB, November 2000, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Software, Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. Available online at http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA385923. Last accessed August 20, 2010.

5

National Research Council (NRC), 2010, Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense, Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12823. Last accessed August 20, 2010.

6

NRC, 1999, Realizing the Potential of C4I: Fundamental Challenges, Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6457. Last accessed August 20, 2010.



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