Evaluation of DOD Comments Re:

DOD Instruction 5000.5X, Standard Instruction Set Architectures for Embedded Computers

B-199008: Published: May 24, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated Department of Defense (DOD) comments on a GAO letter report concerning DOD instruction 5000.5X. In the report, GAO recommended that DOD not implement the instruction and that the services be directed to reevaluate their ongoing efforts and demonstrate why they are more cost effective than standardizing a high-order computer language and relying on the computer industry to provide the stimulus for computer architectural innovations. DOD disagreed with the GAO conclusions and recommendations and maintained that its rationale for curtailing high hardware and software costs is sound. It contends that, by legislating the architectures for embedded computers, hardware and software costs will be minimized. However, according to GAO, the DOD approach of mandating its own architectures should be challenged, because it duplicates commercially funded hardware and software research and development investment and constrains the creative potential of the electronics industry in applying modern technology to solve military problems. GAO is also concerned that the duplication will result in a considerable expenditure of research and development money for technologically obsolescent computer systems.

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