Software Problems in the Development of the Defense Fuel Automated Management System

IMTEC-83-5: Published: Sep 6, 1983. Publicly Released: Sep 6, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Defense Fuel Automated Management System (DFAMS) to: (1) identify any instances of software obsolescence and the causes; and (2) predict the impact of software obsolescence on mission accomplishment.

Under the management of the Defense Fuel Supply Center, DFAMS was designed as a fully automated, integrated system that would encompass the functions of inventory management, procurement, financial control, and accounting for bulk fuel products in the Department of Defense. The financial accounting function became operational in 1982 and the supply and procurement functions are now being developed. GAO found that the DFAMS software is being developed with obsolete and vendor-dependent programming techniques which will cause the delivered system to be unnecessarily costly to maintain and, if incompatible hardware is acquired, will lead to high conversion costs. Many commercial software tools are available which support American National Standard Information (ANSI) programming standards and can assist in the planning and creation of application systems. GAO believes that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) should consider the use of such tools to improve the quality of the DFAMS application software and reduce potential maintenance costs. GAO found that DFAMS developers do not inspect program codes for compliance with DLA, Defense, Federal, or ANSI standards and believes that software tools could greatly reduce the labor of such inspection. The Normalization Program and the Automatic Data Processing Equipment Replacement strategy should achieve the DLA goals of standardizing its software and becoming as machine independent as possible.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Fuel Supply Center will comply with the normalization objectives. Because of the database management system now being used, complete machine independence in program code is not possible. This issue will remain until all DLA objectives and the ADP Replacement Program with standardized application software for transportability are completed.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should determine and communicate a policy position on whether DFAMS should: (1) comply with the objectives of the Normalization Program; or (2) justify that its critical mission requires a vendor-dependent approach.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The agency has initiated action to ensure compliance with DLA, Defense, ANSI, and federal programming standards. The DLA Systems Automated Center has been asked to independently monitor this compliance.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should act promptly to ensure that programming techniques used in DFAMS applications software comply with established DLA, Defense, ANSI, and Federal standards to facilitate conversion, if required.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DLA Systems Automated Center has instituted a policy of technical and supervisory inspection of all codes.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should ensure that quality control over programming techniques is enforced, using available software tools whenever possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency

 

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