In all this discussion about mandates, etc. I have yet to see anyone
the reasons for the current Ada policy's existence, and why either (a)
issues are no longer relevant and/or (b) why we think we have a better
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
on-time and does the job that it needs to do. In particular, they
to pay as little as possible to maintain the software, since that's
most of the cost lurks.
2. DoD contractors want to make as much profit as possible, while
Today, these aren't the same statement, for several reasons, e.g.
a. Since the DoD ends up maintaining the source code, contractors
much (if any) profit aften the initial development, unless the
wins a follow-on development contract for that system.
b. Since the DoD ends up owning the source code, contractors make no
if the DoD ends up reusing their software on a different system
of course, the contractor is paid for developing the different
c. Since the maintenance cost isn't clear immediately after
it usually isn't a significant factor in past performance
so it doesn't seem to affect new business opportunities.
As a result, contractors have strong incentives to make it easy for code
be reused/maintained _internally_, but have no incentive - in fact, they
strong financial disincentives - for anyone else to reuse/maintain their
Rather than tackle this issue directly (by rewriting FARs, etc.) DoD
mandate technologies like DoD-STD-2167(A), Ada, etc. to force the
to write software that could be reused/maintained outside the contractor
In essence, they said, "Contractor! Unless you can tell us why this is a
for us, we want you to write software that WE can reuse/maintain as we
Now, we are going to remove these forcing functions. It really doesn't
rocket scientist to see what contractors are going to do. Why should
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
For the DoD (and the taxpayer, by extension), acquisition costs will go
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.
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