Defense Dept. Report Urges Adoption of Open Technology

The Defense Department should adopt an open technology model for software procurement and distribution, according to a new report prepared for Sue Payton, deputy undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts.

That report, the Open Technology Development road map, states that collaborative software development would save money and give DOD greater systems development and acquisition flexibility.

"We need to get things out to the war-fighter faster," said John Scott, co-author of the OTD report and an open source development consultant for AS&C. "Ultimately, you're fighting wars, your enemies are changing rapidly, so we should be trying to change our model for how we're buying and developing technology."

The 79-page report states that DOD should share programming code and standards with the open source community. It also recommends the use of service-oriented architecture.

The Government Accountability Office's annual Assessments of Selected Major Weapon Programs report showed that DOD will spend nearly US$14 billion on software changes in fiscal 2006 alone.

"If you put data into an application, you should be able to take it out," Scott said. "If you focus on open standards, open data, you get the best value for DOD money."

One of the main advocates for an open technology model at DOD has been the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI), a nonprofit group.

"Open source is well-entrenched within DOD environments now," said John Weathersby, executive director of OSSI. "What the OTD is trying to do is analyze it, learn from it and figure out where to leverage these benefits in other areas."

OSSI has been working with the OTD project for about nine months, serving as a liaison between the OTD authors and industry. The institute also helped develop OTD's strategic plan.

OSSI set up meetings between the OTD report's authors and industry. The first such meeting took place May 4 with IT industry officials. Another followed July 20 with systems integration companies.

The next meeting will be held Sept. 14 with the Association for Enterprise Integration, a nonprofit industry and government group interested in electronic business practices.

News source: Tech News World

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