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Department of Defense Calls for Predictability

In Guidelines for Successful Acquisition and Management of Software-Intensive Systems, the Software Technology Support Center states, “In light of these plans for funding Defense modernization through improved management, there is widespread agreement—among DoD, the defense industry, and the Congress—that our process for determining weapon system requirements and acquiring software-intensive systems often is costly and inefficient. One major problem stems from the wide-scale unpredictability of the acquisition process. In a speech to the 1993 Software Technology Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, Lloyd K. Mosemann II, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Air Force (Command, Control, Computers, and Support), astounded the audience by saying:

  • “It might surprise you, or perhaps even shock you, for me to say that the Pentagon does not want process improvement, it does not want SEI Level 3, or reuse, or Ada, or metrics, or I-CASE, or architectures, or standards. What the Pentagon wants is predictability! Predictable cost, predictable schedule, predictable performance, predictable support, and sustainment—in other words, predictable quality.”2

In the years since 1993, Mosemann, now senior vice president of corporate development at Science Applications International Corporation, has not relented. In another keynote speech to the Software Technology Conference 2002, he again emphasized, “the underlying need within the defense community is for predictability.” (His italics.) Referring to the employment of best commercial practices, he concluded: “The government needs to go and do likewise. Otherwise, the decade of 2000 will likely not show any lessening of the software crisis that has carried over from the 1990’s.”3

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