Programming Language:

Status, Costs, and Issues Associated With Defense's Implementation of Ada

IMTEC-89-9: Published: Mar 24, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) use of its Ada programming language, focusing on: (1) the cost to implement Ada; and (2) Ada technical issues.

GAO evaluated 100 Ada projects and found that: (1) 87 percent of the projects were either planned or in developmental stages; (2) the Air Force and the Army issued Ada procedures; (3) DOD inventories on Ada projects were incomplete and DOD could not assess whether Ada's use would achieve its intended objectives; (4) DOD has not designed projects to assess long-term Ada cost-effectiveness; (5) DOD expended about $201 million on three organizations to implement Ada or develop new software engineering techniques; (6) 23 of the 100 Ada projects focused on studies and demonstrations using Ada in certain applications and developing related software; and (7) there were technical issues concerning DOD use of Ada, including software availability, compiler quality, useability in real-time systems, and applicability of Ada to data-base management systems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Although no directive was given by the Secretary of Defense, AJPO is developing a cost breakdown structure document which will track software costs over the life of development projects. This document may be issued in the form of a directive to be used on all projects and should show software costs and be used to project Ada cost benefits. The projected timeframe for this project is 12-18 months.

    Recommendation: To more fully develop information that will allow more informed judgments on the use of Ada, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO) to develop performance data that demonstrate whether DOD use of Ada is achieving its goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Responsibility for the development of repository technology is currently with the STARS program. Two contractors are developing separate repositories. However, access is limited to participating contractors, the repositories are not DOD-wide, and AJPO sees no participation or responsibility in this area.

    Recommendation: To more fully develop information that will allow more informed judgments on the use of Ada, the Secretary of Defense should direct AJPO to develop a DOD-wide repository of computer applications and modules written in Ada, and make them available for reuse.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: No direction has been given to AJPO. The completeness of the list is better than it was, but it is still incomplete. The Appropriations Act for 1991 requires Ada to be used on all projects after June 1991.

    Recommendation: To more fully develop information that will allow more informed judgments on the use of Ada, the Secretary of Defense should direct AJPO to gather and disseminate complete lists of all DOD projects using Ada.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD disagreed with the establishment of a separate committee and stated that it can accomplish the four specific tasks of this recommendation under existing DOD organizations and structures. There is no evidence of any organized or specific actions taken by AJPO or DOD in general regarding this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish a committee of independent experts on Ada and software engineering technology to monitor and periodically report to the Secretary on DOD actions to implement Ada. Specifically, the committee should: (1) assess existing projects and propose additional projects, if necessary, to demonstrate the intended cost savings associated with using Ada; (2) assess existing research efforts and identify where there is a need for further research to overcome the technical problems in using Ada in real-time, distributed, and data-base applications; (3) assess the progress and results of AJPO in developing a repository of software written in Ada; and (4) recommend appropriate courses of action in employing Ada.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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