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From the Script: SLIDE 11 - DOD Weapon Systems

In June 1994, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence commissioned a programming language survey of the DOD. The purpose of the survey was to identify the number of programming languages being used today in the DOD as compared to 20 years ago when the DOD first began developing the Ada language.

This slide shows part of a table indicating that Ada is the most commonly used 3rd GL for Weapon Systems. The corresponding table for Information Systems shows Ada second to COBOL in that domain.

excerpts from the study's executive summary:

A 1977 study, "A Common Programming Language for the Department of Defense-Background, History and Technical Requirements", identified "450" as the minimum, probable number of general purpose languages and dialects used in the DOD, but went on to say that the actual number was not known. How this estimate, and the method used to count root languages, versions, and dialects, came to be is still questioned. For this survey, as part of establishing a strong methodology, counting the number of languages used today required input from the organizations developing or maintaining automated information systems (AISs) and weapon systems. A census sample would include new systems, those being modernized, and those being maintained. For this study, a judgment sample of weapon systems was identified from the 1994 Presidential Budget requests for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) programs exceeding $15 million and Procurement programs exceeding $25 million. Of the 1,300 programs identified, 423 programs were selected because they included software applications. The current DOD list of 53 major AISs was used as a sample population for non-weapon systems.

Experts in the field of programming languages have differed dramatically in classifying programming languages for counting purposes, particularly in defining the terms "dialect" and "version." For this paper, we use the term "dialect" to indicate a relatively minor change in a language whereas "version" indicates a larger change and usually has a different "name" although the new "name" may only be the concatenation of a different year or number to the baseline name (e.g., Jovial, Jovial 73). We counted a "version" of a root language as a distinct language. The methodology and data collection approach is explained in detail in this report to allow further expansion of the sample population.

Findings and Conclusions