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Subject:
From:
"Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +
Date:
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 15:38:00 -0500
Content-Type:
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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.

 ----------
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To: Paige, Emmett Jr., , OSD/C3I +
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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

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