DOD Should Change Its Approach to Reducing Computer Software Proliferation

MASAD-83-26: Published: May 26, 1983. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 1983.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carl R. Palmer
(202) 275-3482
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO was asked to: (1) evaluate the ongoing efforts of the military services to standardize their computers; (2) determine whether it is more cost effective to standardize the software using a high-level language, Ada; (3) determine whether the Department of Defense (DOD) should rely on the computer industry to provide the stimulus for computer innovations; and (4) determine what possible rationale exists for DOD not moving rapidly to implement Ada.

GAO found that implementing DOD Instruction 5000.5X hinders the agency's ability to use current and anticipated advances in software and related hardware technology. GAO believes that DOD can accomplish its objectives more effectively by using these advances, which would be available by adopting Ada as the standard language for military computers. In two previous reports, GAO was critical of the services' commitment to unique military computers. GAO stated that the following conditions still exist: (1) the three services' continuing military computer efforts, the Navy AN/UYK-43/44 military computer program, the Army MCF, and the Air Force 1750A military computer programs are, in effect, implementations of Instruction 5000.5X; (2) eliminating DOD-owned military computer hardware architectures would encourage competition from a significant portion of the computer industry and, in addition, DOD would not be duplicating the commercial investment in computer technology advances; and (3) the use of Ada could alleviate DOD software problems and, at the same time, permit DOD to capitalize on hardware architectural advances.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Navy, Army, and Air Force to ensure that any new military computers acquired by the services are compatible with Ada and that contracts are awarded on a competitive basis using functional requirements as the procurement criteria.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Navy, Army and Air Force to begin reducing software proliferation by justifying, on the basis of cost and benefits, the use of computer languages other than Ada in new software development programs. These justifications should be submitted to the Ada Joint Program Office for evaluation and approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Navy, Army, and Air Force to also, for the purpose of reducing software proliferation, evaluate the costs and benefits of converting existing major software programs to Ada and, if cost effective and beneficial to make such conversions, make them. Reports should be submitted quarterly to the Ada Joint Program Office on the status and results of these evaluation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should assign the Ada Joint Program Office the responsibility to monitor the Ada efforts recommended above and to provide assistance to the services in gaining widespread experience with Ada.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here