Software Tools:

Defense Is Not Ready to Implement I-CASE Departmentwide

IMTEC-93-27: Published: Jun 9, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined whether the Department of Defense (DOD) has adequately managed the introduction of integrated computer-aided software engineering (I-CASE) technology into its software development and design activities.

GAO found that: (1) the I-CASE industry has agreed on few accepted tool standards and has not achieved consensus on which software development projects can best benefit from the use of I-CASE tools; (2) little evidence exists that CASE tools can improve software quality or productivity; (3) the DOD strategy to procure and install integrated sets of CASE tools throughout the department has serious shortcomings; (4) DOD has not adequately analyzed its software development processes, but plans to install CASE tools without prototypes to determine whether I-CASE tools will be capable of supporting software development; and (5) DOD could waste millions of dollars on automated software tools that do not meet its needs unless it incorporates a more systematic approach to implementing I-CASE technology.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Defense has agreed to restrict the purchase of I-CASE tools to those needed to support the pilots. The Department awarded the I-CASE contract to Logicon, Inc. in April 1994 and has begun providing tools to support the pilot projects.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to restrict purchases from the I-CASE contract to those software development activities necessary to support the planned pilot projects. In addition, the pilot projects should be redirected to test and evaluate I-CASE to allow DOD to identify the benefits and potential problems associated with using CASE tools. This redirection should also ensure that the pilots selected include large as well as smaller projects, and that some pilots test the total spectrum of the I-CASE products.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A working group to develop a common standard for Defense software development and documentation has been meeting to determine a standard software development methodology for the department. That effort is using many of the tools and techniques associated with business process improvement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to initiate a software development business process improvement program to address Defense's overall software development goals and how technology should be applied to meet those goals. The business process improvement program should include a complete functional economic analysis to justify the money to be spent on the technology, and outline what benefits can be expected from employing I-CASE.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Defense believes that the I-CASE Technology Transfer Program will accomplish the goal of this recommendation in that a technical audit will be conducted before implementing I-CASE environments. Technical audits will proceed in parallel with the I-CASE system qualification test.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to require that any software development activity be fully assessed as to its skill level in developing software prior to purchasing tools from the I-CASE contract. The results of the assessment should be used to determine what tools are most appropriate for the activity to use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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