Like any business enterprise, the primary operational goal of the AJPO
is user satisfaction. We measure achievement of this goal constantly,
using a variety of measures. We know who is accessing our facilities,
and through our user surveys understand what services are desired. For
convenience, our users can be classified into the following three
groups: warfighters, academia, and industry (including the vendors).
Each of these groups are international in scope and diverse by their
very nature. This version of our newsletter addresses what we are
currently doing to satisfy user needs in each of the three categories.
Accessing Ada information
Most of you know you about the services our Ada Information
Clearinghouse (AdaIC) provides. Information about Ada is the commodity all of our users seem to want easier access to. In addition to providing you this newsletter, the AdaIC staffs a hot line eight hours a day to provide interested parties with access to the wealth of information contained within their databases and libraries. One of the things we have done during the past year to make accessing Ada information easier is provide more on-line facilities. We have put into operation an Internet World Wide Web (WWW) search-and-access facility, which lets Internet users get to just about everything they tell us they feel is of value on the AdaIC's host (sw-eng.falls-church.va.us).
Internet users can also access the host via our
anonymous file transfer protocol (ftp),
Gopher, or Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS). For those who don't have an Internet account, there is a dial-up line
(703/681-2845) so that they can get to and download desired information.
We also work closely with several mirror sites, such as the
Public Ada Library (PAL), and with several reuse libraries (ASSET and
DSRS). This enables both our users and theirs to get desired information on just about any Ada topic. For those interested in visiting our host, we have provided a guide on pages 10-13 of this issue of the newsletter. On the host, we've provided lots of hyperlinks to related sites. Be sure to book a tour today via our sw-eng.falls-church.va.us address. As always, we welcome your feedback and constructive comments.
Supporting the warfighter
The AJPO supports those who build systems to support our warfighters in
many ways. We work with the program managers/program executive
officials (PMs/PEOs) and their technical personnel to address issues and to provide low-risk implementation plans for Ada. We try to address their concerns and deal with a variety of perceptions about Ada, both good and bad. We provide information on
training. We put a wide variety of useful material on-line and make it easily accessible via our AdaIC host. We provide answers to
questions, work out issues, and listen to complaints. We visit sites and try to keep the PMs/PEOs up to date on what's going on within the industry.
When warranted, we partner with PMs/PEOs via our Ada Technology Insertion Program (ATIP) to develop what's needed to make their projects successful. Examples of the general-purpose products we've developed via ATIP are provided on pages 4 and 5. We also participate in reviews and source selections (when asked).
With our warfighter-support initiatives, our primary goal is to do
whatever's needed to make Ada attractive for use by our DoD users.
Based upon the preponderance of use of Ada within both DoD weapons and
information systems, we must be doing something right. (For the hard
data on DoD language use, see the recently published
language study by the Institute for Defense Analyses.)
We have also undertaken several educational initiatives -- whose aim is
to stimulate the development of the Ada-smart staff the DoD needs to
address its software challenges. We provide
grants to universities to
update and develop Ada courseware at both the undergraduate and graduate
levels. For getting high-school students jazzed about Ada, we support a
mega-programming in Ada course -- which has been favorably reviewed by
our beta test users. We assist the military Academies and Service
schools by providing course materials, tools, and support to their
instructors. We also provide Ada tools such as the GNU Ada 95 Translator (GNAT) to university researchers so they can experiment with advanced software engineering and object-oriented concepts.
Most importantly, we ensure the skills, knowledge, and abilities of
members of the DoD software workforce are adequate to address the
seemingly ever increasing Ada workload. As outlined on pages 6 and 7,
the educational materials that have been developed under our sponsorship
are made available online in using our Internet facilities described above. During the past two years, Ada experienced a 47%
growth within the universities. We expect an even greater growth in the
use of Ada, when our academic Ada environment starts publication early
next year. (This will be an Ada textbook for undergraduates with a
visual Ada 95 compiler environment shrinkwrapped with it; it will sell
in university bookstores for about $60.)
We also work with industry to stimulate the development of
bindings, and innovations needed to achieve DoD objectives. We lever our buying power whenever possible to get industry to develop
the products that we need to carry out our mission, when we need it, and
to offer those products to us at favorable prices. The
tools and bindings reports we have authored provide industry with
insights into our investment strategy. Both have been recently updated
and are available on the WWW. Our recently announced Ada Technology
Insertion Program-Partnership (ATIP-P) is a dual-use initiative that
cost-shares developments with industry to get products like those
envisioned in tools and bindings reports to market when needed. (See
pages 8 and 9 for more on this.)
Our primary goal with this and our other aligned programs is to
penetrate more fully the commercial marketplace by exploiting the
dual-use potential of the Ada programming language in our military
Providing Ada 95 transition support
Finally, we work with early adopters who are willing to take some risk
when warranted with new technologies. As noted in our last newsletter,
several major DoD projects are starting to use Ada 95 to gain
familiarity with its advanced object-oriented features.
The first application in Ada 95 to be delivered was done so by the
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in June when it shipped
Airfields for integration into the Global Command & Control Systems
(GCCS). Reports are very favorable even though these projects are
taking some hits due to compilers and tools being so early in
In our last few newsletters, I have shown you the programs we have
initiated at the AJPO to support the education (Winter 1995), industrial (Spring 1995), and warfighter (Fall 1995) communities. I still remain
upbeat about Ada's chances and think we have made a great deal of
progress in the almost two and a half years I have been with the
A brief farewell
By now, most of you know that I will be returning to industry on 13
October 1995. I appreciate the support so many of you gave me during my
tour as Chief of the AJPO. Taking charge during the transition from
DDR&E to DISA has been one of the highlights of my career. I have
enjoyed my tour and sincerely hope that many of the programs I have put
into place will grow and prosper as the next administration closes down
Let me conclude this my final letter as the Chief of the AJPO with a
sincere thanks to all of you who helped me through some of the more
difficult spots. It's been fun, and I think I've made a difference.
I've done what I can, and now it is time for me to go home to California
to spend some quality time with my wife and family.
Donald J. Reifer
Chief, Ada Joint Program Office