By Bill Scherlis,
Chief Technology Officer (Acting)
extent of software in Department of Defense (DoD) systems has increased
by more than an order of magnitude every decade. This is not just
because there are more systems with more software; a similar growth
pattern has been exhibited within individual, long-lived military systems. In recognition of this growing software role, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E, now ASD(R&E)) requested the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a study of defense software producibility,
with the purpose of identifying the principal challenges and developing
recommendations regarding both improvement to practice and priorities
for research. The NRC appointed a committee, which I chaired, that
included many individuals well known to the SEI community, including Larry Druffel, Doug Schmidt, Robert Behler, Barry Boehm,
and others. After more than three years of effort—which included an
intensive review and revision process—we issued our final report, Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense. In the year and a half since the report was published, I have been asked to brief it extensively to the DoD and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) communities.
This blog posting, the first in a series, highlights several of the
committee’s key findings, specifically focusing on three areas of
identified improvements to practice—areas where the committee judged
that improvements both are feasible and could substantially help the DoD
to acquire, sustain, and assure software-reliant systems of all kinds.
Part 2: Understanding Success Drivers
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
Common operating platform environments (COPEs) are reusable software infrastructures that incorporate open standards; define portable interfaces, interoperable protocols, and data models; offer complete design disclosure; and have a modular, loosely coupled, and well-articulated software architecture that provides applications and end users with many shared capabilities. COPEs can help reduce recurring engineering costs, as well as enable developers to build better and more powerful applications atop a COPE, rather than wrestling repeatedly with tedious and error-prone infrastructure concerns. Despite technical advances during the past decade, however, building affordable and dependable COPE-based solutions for the DoD remains elusive. This blog posting—the second in a three-part series—builds upon the first posting to describe key success drivers for COPEs that proactively and intentionally exploit commonality across multiple DoD acquisition programs.
Part 1: Doing More for Less
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
Mission-critical operations in the Department of Defense (DoD) increasingly depend on complex software-reliant systems-of-systems (abbreviated as “systems” below). These systems are characterized by a rapidly growing number of connected platforms, sensors, decision nodes, and people. While facing constrained budget, expanded threat, and engineering workforce challenges, the DoD is trying to obtain greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending needed to acquire and sustain these systems. This blog posting—the first in a three-part series—motivates the need for DoD common operating platform environments that can help collapse today’s stove-piped solutions to decrease costs, spur innovation, and increase acquisition and operational performance.
Part 2: SEI R&D Activities Related to Sustaining Software for the DoD
By Douglas C. Schmidt,
Deputy Director, Research, and Chief Technology Officer
Software sustainment is growing in importance as the inventory of DoD systems continues to age and greater emphasis is placed on efficiency and productivity in defense spending. In part 1 of
this series, I summarized key software sustainment challenges facing
the DoD. In this blog posting, I describe some of the R&D
activities conducted by the SEI to address these challenges.
By Doug Schmidt,
Chief Technology Officer
As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about the latest work of SEI technologists, I will keep you apprised of SEI-related work that’s published each month as SEI technical reports and notes. This post includes a listing of each report, author/s, and links where reports published in March can be accessed on the SEI website. The first report, A Framework for Evaluating Common Operating Environments, is based on a recent SEI blog posting and is an area I’m actively working on at the SEI. As always, we welcome your feedback on our work.