DOD software stretched too far? : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

DOD software stretched too far? BY George I. Seffers 05/16/2000

A study on software problems plaguing major weapons systems could result in the Pentagon investing more money in computer research and development, according to Hans Mark, the Pentagons director of defense research and engineering.

The Defense Study Board is exploring why major systems, such as the Crusader self-propelled howitzer and the F-22 fighter aircraft, are continually plagued with software problems, Mark said.

He refused to reveal what the study might recommend, but he hinted that the Pentagon could get back into the business of funding computer R&D, possibly in automated computer code writing, which DOD currently leaves almost entirely to the private sect

"When I got back to the Pentagon this time, one of the first things that struck me was how every major program we have has software problems," Mark told the audience at a National Defense Industrial Association science and technology conference held May 9 - 11 at The Johns Hopkins Universitys Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. "We may very well be back in the business of conducting research on computers."

The Pentagon largely leaves computer development to the private sector, but it is possible that the military fails to properly manage systems requiring numerous lines of codes, Mark said.

One problem, he suggested, is that the military spends as little as possible on computer hardware, meaning it buys systems too small for the task and has to stretch the softwares capabilities. Furthermore, there might be some scientific problem intrinsic to all major military systems that systems developers are not grasping.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 16, 2000

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