Managing Weapon System Software:

Progress and Problems (Unclassified Digest of a Classified Report)

PSAD-78-112: Published: Jul 10, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1978.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that it spends over $3 billion annually for weapon system software, and the cost is steadily rising. However, software performance has often been unreliable because of serious technical and management problems with the way it is designed, developed, tested, and maintained. These problems increase weapon system life-cycle cost, extend development schedules, and degrade mission performance.

Due to the lack of visibility in the acquisition process, software management is not given the same emphasis as hardware even though software is critical to operational performance of the major weapon systems.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should consider the following issues when reviewing the relevant system during DOD appropriation hearings: the Army did not perform complete operational testing of the Tactical Fire Direction System software before procuring the system; the Navy does not plan satisfactory software testing for the Light Airborne Multipurpose System Mark III before the production decision was made; and limited funding has hampered efforts to correct problems and test changes in S-3A fleet-issue software problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Defense Systems Acquisitions Review Council to include software management plans and issues at weapon system project review meetings, giving special consideration to plans for testing and evaluating software before approving systems for development and to the adequacy of software for system mission performance, reliability, and maintainability before approving systems for production; provide specific actions for improving test, evaluation, and life-cycle maintenance of system software programs; and insure that when operational testing discloses major software discrepancies on systems approved for production, the services earmark funds for corrective actions within a reasonable time.

    Agency Affected:


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