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TEAM-ADA  March 1997

TEAM-ADA March 1997

Subject:

Re: Re[2]: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear

From:

"Newberry, George, , SAF/AQRE" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Newberry, George, , SAF/AQRE

Date:

Fri, 21 Mar 1997 13:03:00 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (487 lines)

Since you sent this out, you asked for it.

     Mr. Firth is NOT right on, and his comments ARE an insult to many
of us!!. I understand he wasn't  trying to say the folks in DoD are
idiots; however, he did intimate that our acquisition managers have
little knowledge of software because software professionals were not
allowed to progress to program managers.  You also mentioned that the
software expertise available today has little
experience with systems engineering and little capability to make
appropriate system tradeoffs.  Both of these statements are a load of
nonsense!!

     How do you explain Col Bob Lyons who heads the JAST Program, or Lt
Col Dan Romano who heads the International Joint Stars Program.  Both of
these gentlemen have extensive software and systems engineering
backgrounds, and there are others as well.  I myself have a B.S. in
Computer Science, I've been the senior software engineer on 2 programs
(systems engineer on one of them), am the official DoD representative to
the ISO committee that produces software standards, been invited by ISO
members to participate on systems engineering standards development,
have written articles on software that have been published in CrossTalk,
am speaking at this year's STC, have spoken at past Tri-Ada conferences,
am the Air Force representative to an OSD PAT to improve the software
section of the Deskbook, and provide many recommendations to the
Software Management Review Council.  I've never had a problem with
promotions.  In fact, I just made Lt Col and plan to take over my own
program some time next year when my Pentagon tour is over!

     Career progression for software engineering/computer science IS on
an equal basis with electrical engineering.  As a Lieutenant I knew that
if I wanted to continue to do software engineering my career would be
limited (the same as it is for other engineers); however, if I wanted to
rise to a senior position in acquisition, I needed to move into Program
Management at some time in the future.  You can rest assured that all
computer people and other engineers know this and make conscience
decisions about want they want to do.

     As to software training, one size doesn't fit all.  You need one
type of training for the software engineer who's at a Logistic Center
responsible for maintaining the software on a program.  You need another
type of training for software engineers located in a Program Office.
You also need yet another type of training for a Program Manager, who's
not a software professional, and is responsible for managing a software
intensive program.  There's currently a SMRC PAT addressing this issue.

     Lastly, those of you who want to mandate Ada are going to end up
killing the language!  Mandates have already done critical damage to it,
let's give it a chance to get well.  If you base the language decision
on an engineering trade study, and force the study results to be briefed
at the appropriate milestone decision, the DoD will end up with more
programs using Ada than they would by mandating the language.  Human
nature reacts positively when faced with "make sure you consider all
possibilities.....", vice the negative reaction when told, "use this
unless...."  The key to this is to ensure program managers do an
adequate engineering trade study, and there are people who have
volunteered to develop the criteria for an adequate trade study.  This
would give program managers a guide to follow, and also provide MASARCs,
DSARCs, etc. with the necessary information to evaluate the trade
studies to ensure an adequate study was performed.  If not, they should
send the PM back to do it again.

     Ada is a great language and can stand on its own.  Boeing didn't
develop the 777 using Ada because of some mandate (version 1 works and
is what's flying on that plane right now - you tell me one other program
you've ever heard of where version 1 worked).  They made the decision
because it was the right thing to do from a system engineering stand
point.  By the way, the decision wasn't made by a software engineer, it
was made by an aeronautical one.

     Sorry to bother you with this Mr Paige, but I couldn't let things I
know to be untrue go unanswered.

George
 ----------
From: [log in to unmask]
To: Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +; [log in to unmask];
[log in to unmask]
Cc: Brown, Linda, , OSD/C3I; Rand, Cynthia, , OSD/C3I +; Soos, James,
Dr., OSD/C3I +; Castor, Virginia, Ms,OUSD/AT;
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[log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask];
[log in to unmask]; Clyde Roby
Subject: Re[2]: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear
Date: Friday, 21 March, 1997 9:08


From: [log in to unmask]
To:  Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +
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Cc:  Brown, Linda, , OSD/C3I
     Rand, Cynthia, , OSD/C3I +
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     Castor, Virginia, Ms,OUSD/AT
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     Clyde Roby
Subject:  Re[2]: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear
Date: 1997-03-21 09:08
Priority: 3
Message ID: 299F7593FBA1D011AFA50020AF0C044A
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From: [log in to unmask] (Currie Colket)
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Subject: Re[2]: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="IMA.Boundary.786359858"

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----- --

Dear Mr. Paige,

The response Robert Firth provided is right on. You misinterpreted his
message
and took it as an insult. I did not get the impression he was trying to
say
the
folks in DoD are idiots. We have some very smart people in the DoD.
However, by
in large, these people are poorly trained when it comes to acquiring
software
intensive and software dependent systems.

Most DOD system acquisition managers do not have a sufficient
understanding
of
software acquisition issues to effectively make common sense tradeoffs
during
the system/software acquisition/development process. Career progression
favored
the advancement of electrical engineers, penalizing those skilled in
computer science/software engineering. Software professionals could not
rise to
system management as they were not allowed to supervise electrical
engineers.
This perhaps worked well in the 1960s and 1970s when the development of
a
system
was primarily hardware based and "code developers" frequently were
little
more
than high school educated. Unfortunately today our senior management
must
develop systems that are primarily software based requiring extensive
software
expertise.  Many in our senior management don't have the education and
training
to make common sense tradeoffs regarding software issues. Ada is only
one
of the
many software issues where our senior managers have made poor decisions.
As

career motivations for software professionals were poor and salaries in
the

commercial side increased, many educated software professionals left the
DoD;
today senior management typically has very limited software expertise
within
their organization to draw on. Software expertise available has little
experience with systems engineering and little capability to make
appropriate
system tradeoffs. This is compounded by the fact that software and
hardware

technology has exploded in the last 20 years and even specialized
software
expertise is needed in about 20 different disciplines for each project.
The

result is that the DOD is not in the position of being a smart acquirer.
Acquisition managers have little expertise to assess the tradeoffs
presented by
contractors and to determine which are in the best interest of the DoD
and
the
taxpayer. The lack of interdisciplinary capabilities in the system
acquisition
process severely inhibits our ability to field effective software
intensive
and
software dependent systems.

This issue has no short term solution. The DOD needs to develop a career
progression for software engineering/computer science placing it on at
least an
equal basis with the electrical engineering career progression. People
with
good
software skills need to be promoted to provide credibility within their
organizations. These acquisition organizations should be required to
have
members with a bachelors/masters degree in computer science/software
engineering. System acquisition training should be required for software
acquisition professionals. As a stopgap measure, software acquisition
training
is necessary for senior management. The most effective stopgap training
is
provided via conferences such as the Software Technology Conference
(STC),
the
SEI Software Engineering Symposium, and the Tri-Ada conference.
Attendance
at
management tracks at these conferences should be strongly encouraged.
There
may
be some value to requiring all acquisition managers to attend the DAU
Software
Acquisition Management (SAM) courses 201 and 301.

The attached strawman identifies one view of the training needs for a
software
acquisition professional. As can be clearly seen, the Ada issue is
really
only
the tip of the iceberg. If our senior acquisition managers can not
address
the
Ada issue adequately, consider the impact of the other software
acquisition

issues. Today our systems acquisition is performed by very intelligent
people,
but untrained in software acquisition. This is the basis for Robert
Firth's

remarks. Our situation is equivalent to needing a quadruple bypass and
having
your highly skilled dentist perform the operation. Yes, the dentist is
very

intelligent and highly trained, but not for the job at hand. There is no
wonder
we have problems with so many of our acquisitions.


Respectively submitted,

Currie Colket
[log in to unmask]

______________________________ Reply Separator
_________________________________
Subject: Re: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear
Author:  "Paige; Emmett Jr.; ; OSD/C3I +" <[log in to unmask]> at
smtp-gw
Date:    3/14/97 3:38 PM


THIS ONE IS INSULTING TO A LOT OF SMART,INTELLIGENT FOLKS IN DOD THAT
HAVE AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS  THE EDITOR AND MOST OF THE ADDRESSES. IT
STRESSES THAT THOSE WHO ARE IN DOD FOR WHATEVER REASON ARE IDIOTS WHO DO
NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WE NEED OR TO TEST WHAT WE BUY.
I REJECT THAT NOTION FROM ANYONE. BEING IN ACADEMIA OR INDUSTRIA DOES
NOT TRANSLATE TO BEING THE SMARTEST AND MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE FOLKS IN THE
WORLD OR THIS COUNTRY. NOR THE STRONGEST OR MOST ABLE TO USE THEIR
BRAINPOWER. IINCOMPETENCE HAS NO BARRIERS AND IT CROSSES INTO ALL CAMPS
TO INCLUDE ACADEMIA AND INDUSTRY. AT LEAST GOVT AND INDUSTRY HAVE
AVENUES AVAILABLE TO ELIMINATE THOSE INDIVIDUAL WHEN THEY ARE
DISCOVERED.
   MY BETTER JUDGEMENT TOLD ME TO SIMPLY IGNORE AND NOT RESPOND TO YOUR
COMMENTS BELOW PARAGRAPH ONE, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE
INSULTING A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ALSO PAY TAXES JUST AS YOU DO AND THERE IS
NO REASON OR ANYTHING THAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO ATTACK THEM OR INFER
THAT WE HAVE A GOVT WORKFORCE OF INCOMPETENTS.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ANYWAY.

 ----------
From: [log in to unmask]
To: Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +
Cc: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask];
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[log in to unmask]; Lee Schmidt; [log in to unmask];
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Subject: Re: Reason for Mr. Paige's Decision Unclear
Date: Friday, March 14, 1997 1:03PM


Folks

As you probably recall, I've been unhappy with the "Ada Mandate" for
many, many years.  I'm also in the camp that says the customer should
decide the WHAT, and the contractor should decide the HOW.  If the
customer wants reliability and maintainability, then if Ada is indeed
the best means to effect these ends, Ada will be chosen.  And if Ada
is *not* the best means, it won't be chosen, which is exactly right.

However, that said, the present situation finds me deeply distressed.
For I believe that what is going to happen is that the DoD will abandon
its insistence on the HOW, and replace it, not with an insistence on
the WHAT, but rather with nothing.

Will future software products delivered to the DoD be assessed for
reliability, maintainability, and the other *essential* -ilitites?
I rather think not.  I see no evidence that the DoD has any competence
in such assessments, nor much evidence it even realises it *needs*
such competence, and very badly.

Even if such products were assessed, would the assesment have teeth?
Can we really visualise the DoD rejecting a software product that
bears a billion dollars of sunk cost, merely because it doesn't work?
Look at the track record.  Even within the Ada world, how many cases
can we all cite of DoD funded developments that continued to eat funding
long after it was palpably obvious they would never work?

Again, I fear that such projects will be deemed "too big to fail", "too
critical to fail", "too visible to fail", and the assessment will be
fudged to allow us to pretend that failure is success.

If the Ada mandate is to be abandoned, it must be replaced with
something *more* effective at ensuring the DoD receives software
that has the attributes necessary to support its mission.  In
particular,
the software acceptance criteria must be comprehensive, rigorous, *and
enforced by an independent authority*.  An authority with the power, and
the clout, of, for instance, the range safety officer at a missile
test station.

Without at least this much, I fear we are indeed heading back into
the quagmire.

Yours
Robert Firth



<<File Attachment: forpaige.doc>>

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