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TEAM-ADA  March 1997

TEAM-ADA March 1997

Subject:

Re: Paige, mandates, etc.

From:

Ken Garlington <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ken Garlington <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 10 Mar 1997 12:51:14 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)

In all this discussion about mandates, etc. I have yet to see anyone
address
the reasons for the current Ada policy's existence, and why either (a)
those
issues are no longer relevant and/or (b) why we think we have a better
solution
to those issues now.

Let's just say, hypothetically, the following conditions hold:

  1. The DoD wants to spend as little as possible for software that
arrives
     on-time and does the job that it needs to do. In particular, they
want
     to pay as little as possible to maintain the software, since that's
where
     most of the cost lurks.

  2. DoD contractors want to make as much profit as possible, while
winning
     new business.

Today, these aren't the same statement, for several reasons, e.g.

  a. Since the DoD ends up maintaining the source code, contractors
don't make
     much (if any) profit aften the initial development, unless the
contractor
     wins a follow-on development contract for that system.

  b. Since the DoD ends up owning the source code, contractors make no
money
     if the DoD ends up reusing their software on a different system
(unless,
     of course, the contractor is paid for developing the different
system).

  c. Since the maintenance cost isn't clear immediately after
development ends,
     it usually isn't a significant factor in past performance
evaluations, and
     so it doesn't seem to affect new business opportunities.

As a result, contractors have strong incentives to make it easy for code
to
be reused/maintained _internally_, but have no incentive - in fact, they
have
strong financial disincentives - for anyone else to reuse/maintain their
software.

Rather than tackle this issue directly (by rewriting FARs, etc.) DoD
decided to
mandate technologies like DoD-STD-2167(A), Ada, etc. to force the
contractors
to write software that could be reused/maintained outside the contractor
shop.
In essence, they said, "Contractor! Unless you can tell us why this is a
bad idea
for us, we want you to write software that WE can reuse/maintain as we
see fit."

Now, we are going to remove these forcing functions. It really doesn't
take a
rocket scientist to see what contractors are going to do. Why should
they
make a fuss about a change in policy that eliminates restrictions on
them? If they
want to use Ada, in order to minimize their internal costs, they can
still do so.
If they want to use PowerBuilder, they can. For the contractor, it's a
clear win.
For the DoD (and the taxpayer, by extension), acquisition costs will go
down, which
looks good. Maintenance costs might go up, but I suspect instead that
less maintenance will be done on the software, so the costs will only
show up in less capability. Since this can't be easily quantified,
overall the policy change will look good.

--
LMTAS - The Fighter Enterprise - "Our Brand Means Quality"
For job listings, other info: http://www.lmtas.com or
http://www.lmco.com

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