At 10:09 PM -0500 3/11/97, Michael Feldman wrote:
>Richard Riehle wrote:
>> In this discussion of the abrogation of long-standing Ada policy,
>> I have seen no reference to Public Law 101-511, Section 8092, which
>> makes Ada the preferred programming language for the DoD. Has this
>> law been repealed? It is my understanding that once a law is passed
>> and ratified, it remains the law unless it has an explicit expiration
>> date (this one does not) or it has been repealed.
>> Richard Riehle
>As I recall, this came up a while back. The _legal_ "mandate" (As
>opposed to just DoD internal policy) appeared in an _appropriation_
>law, at the end of the law in what is normally a section of general
>provisions. Generally - in the absence of language to the contrary
>- these things run for the duration of the fiscal year (FY) covered by
This was definitively settled on comp.lang.ada with the assistance of Ken
Garlington and the AdaIC. Mike is correct in his
interpretation/rememberance. For a copy of the memo from August 1996 check
out the following comp.lang.ada article (thank you dejanews!)
Subject: Revised AFMC intepretation of Ada law
From: Ken Garlington <[log in to unmask]>
Message-Id: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: FYI: AFMC position on Ada Law
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1996 17:33:38 -0400
From: John Walker <[log in to unmask]>
On 1 August, Ken Garlington posted a 16 July memo from Marilyn Corbin
of the Air Force Materiel Command, commenting on the status of the
Congressional Ada mandate. In brief, it said the Congressional
mandate was interpreted to be permanent.
The AdaIC has found that, on 5 August, after pursuing the question
further, Ms Corbin revised her memo with one that, in brief, said
that the Congressional wording was interpreted to be *non-permanent*
and limited to only the years in which it appeared in the DoD
She requests that any copies of the 16 July memo be removed or
Following is a copy of her 5 August memo. Please feel free to contact
if you have any questions on this.
AdaIC, 800/232-4211, 703/681-2466, fax: 703/681-2869
direct dial: 703/681-2472 (DSN: 761- )
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Ohio
5 Aug 96
MEMORANDUM FOR HQ AFMC/ENPP
FROM: HQ AFMC/JAQ
SUBJECT: Ada and Public Law
1. You asked for our advice on "whether the DoD's use of the
computer language Ada is still mandated by law." A statute mandating
Ada first appeared in Section 8092 of the FY 91 DoD Appropriations
Act and was subsequently included in Section 8073 of the FY 92
Appropriations Act and Section 9070 of the FY 93 DoD Appropriations
Act. As discussed below, the history of these Ada statutes, as well
as the statutory language, reveals that none of the statutes were
permanent legislation. Instead, each of the statutes mandating Ada
is solely applicable to the act in which it was contained.
2. Since an appropriation act is made for a particular fiscal year,
the starting presumption is that everything contained in the act is
effective only for the fiscal year covered. This presumption can be
overcome if the statutory language used or the nature of the
provision makes it clear that Congress intended it to be permanent.
The starting point in ascertaining Congress' intent is the language
of the statute. The first statute mandating Ada "after June 1, 1991"
and "where cost effective" appeared in Section 8092 of the FY 91 DoD
Appropriations Act. The same mandate was included in Section 8073 of
the FY 92 DoD Appropriations Act. Section 9070 of the FY 93 DoD
Appropriations Act contained the identical Ada language minus the
June 1, 1991 starting date. The repeated inclusion of a provision in
annual appropriation acts indicates that it is not considered or
intended by Congress to be permanent.
3. Another indication that the Ada statutory mandate is not
permanent is the language of the statute. If the statutory language
uses "words of futurity" and is not changed by Congress in a
subsequent statute, it is considered "permanent" legislation. "Words
of futurity" usually encompass such wording as "hereafter," "after
the date of approval of this act," or a specific starting date.
Thus, the statutory wording in the FY 91 and 92 Appropriation Acts
appears to be permanent legislation due to the inclusion of the
starting date of June 1, 1991. However, the repeated inclusion in
the FY 92 and FY93 Appropriation Acts of essentially the same Ada
mandate appearing in the FY91 Appropriation Act indicates that the
language is not considered or intended by Congress to be permanent.
In addition, the last statute containing the Ada mandate (i.e., FY 93
DoD Appropriations Act) do not contain any "words of futurity."
4. Note the statutory Ada mandate in all three Appropriation Acts
contain the words "notwithstanding any other provision of law," and
is not tied directly to the appropriating language for the fiscal
year. These factors, however, do not indicate that Congress intended
to make the provisions permanent. (See GAO/OGC-91-5 Appropriations
Law-Vol 1 for numerous Comptroller General decisions supporting this
5. In summary, Congress, by repeating essentially the same Ada
mandate in different appropriation acts, indicated that the
provisions were not to be construed as permanent. In addition, the
FY 93 DoD Appropriation Act, which is the last appropriation act
containing the Ada mandate, contain no "words of futurity." This,
also, indicates that the legislation is only tied to the funds for
that fiscal year and is not permanent legislation. Note, however,
that DoD policy requires that a waiver (or special exemption) be
obtained for when Ada is not to be used for the programming language.
A waiver need not be obtained for those applications described in
paragraph F2 of DoDD 3405.1, Computer Programming Language Policy.
6. If you need more information, you may contact me at 7-5727 or
through E-Mail using CorbinM.
Acquisition Law Directorate
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate