AdaIC News Fall 1996


    Letter from the AJPO
Dr. Charles Engle, AJPO Chief
The End of an Era?


| Ada study at National Academy of Science | The AJPO |
| Transitioning tasks | Policy | Software Reuse Intiative |

In this issue of the newsletter, I think it is important to discuss some of the rumors that have been flying around the Internet about what is happening here at the Ada Joint Program Office. I will try to clear up the wrong impressions and correct the rumors by presenting the facts and the motivations for our actions.

Ada study at National Academy of Science

First, Mr. Emmett Paige, Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I), asked the National Academy of Science to conduct a study of the current Ada policy within the Department of Defense (DoD). This task was given to the Academy's National Research Council (NRC). The NRC then selected the chair of the study group, Dr. Barry Boehm, and the 12 additional members.

The charter for this study group is to examine the current policy to determine whether it is still viable and relevant in today's world, and, if not, to suggest an alternative policy. Recall that the last time such a study was conducted was over 20 years ago!

The study group has had two meetings in which invited people presented their facts and suggestions. They have at least one more scheduled meeting and will then render their report to Mr. Paige not later than 31 October 1996. It is still too early to tell what the outcome of the study group will be, but all indications are that this is a fair and well balanced group of people, and that the result will be in the best interests of the DoD.Ø

The AJPO

Second, many of you have heard that the AJPO may close. Let me put this rumor to rest. Yes, we will be closing, but that is exactly what we should be doing.

A program office is established to create a product. It identifies requirements, and designs, implements, tests, and refines the product until it is ready for full-scale production. At that point, the program office has done its job and is closed; maintenance of the product is accomplished by other people. The "PO" in AJPO stands for Program Office. The AJPO and its predecessor, the High Order Language Working Group (HOLWG), were established to create the Ada programming language. This was done. We then matured it through its first international restandardization. It is now time to be disestablished.

This does not mean that the functions of the AJPO will go away; nor does it have any link whatsoever to the policy of the DoD with regard to the use of Ada. The F-16 Program Office was established to create the F-16. When it went from R&D to Maintenance, the program office was scheduled to be closed, but the F-16 will still be with us and is very much an essential part of the nation's arsenal. So will it be with Ada.Ø

Transitioning tasks

Over a year ago, we selected a target of June 1997 as the time to close the AJPO. We have been progressing along a glide slope to that date. If we can accomplish what we need to sooner, we will close sooner. If it takes a little longer, then we will stay open a little longer. But we will close.

We started the transition of the AJPO by first enumerating our functions. We moved the obvious things first. The validation of compilers for all languages but Ada is done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Why should Ada be different? Accordingly, we have entered into an agreement with NIST, which calls for them to assume responsibility for validation effective 1 October 1996. They have effectively taken over as of 1 July 1996.

This was not done without extensive coordination between NIST, the Ada Validation Office, the Distinguished Reviewers, the Ada Rapporteur Group, and other interested parties. The agreement we signed satisfied all parties, and the movement of the validation responsibility will be transparent to the Ada community.

Another function of the AJPO is the maintenance of the Memoranda of Understanding and Agreement with various official parties, among them the American National Standards Institute, the International Standardization Organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, etc. This function will be moved to the Center for Standards in the Defense Information Systems Agency. Again, this move will be transparent to all Ada community members.

The Ada Information Clearinghouse will be expanded into a consolidated Information Clearinghouse, run by the same contractor, IIT Research Institute (IITRI). In addition to information about Ada and reuse, the Clearinghouse will provide information about the Defense Information Infrastructure (DII) and the Common Operating Environment (COE). This way, the AdaIC will stay open and perform the same functions, sponsored by DISA instead of the AJPO.

Other functions of the AJPO will become fee-for-service activities conducted either by IITRI or the Ada Resource Association (ARA). These organizations have entered into extensive discussions about the future of these services and how they can provide them to the community.

For example, the AJPO was able to provide free Language Reference Manuals and Rationales to DoD personnel. Access to these resources will still be free, on-line at the AdaIC. However, a free hardcopy can be obtained only by downloading the files and printing themhoney yourself. With binding (or a notebook in which to keep the pages together), this can get expensive. However, IITRI can sell bound copies of the printed LRM and Rationale for approximately $40 a set. Similarly, the ARA can sell them for the same price; cheaper than downloading and printing!

So I hope that this discussion has cleared up some rumors. Yes, the AJPO is going away. However, its functions will still be in the sustaining base of the government. The Program Office accomplished its mission and will now fold its tent.Ø

Policy

As mentioned earlier, this should not be taken as a lessening of the DoD commitment to Ada. Indeed, the newly release DoD Regulation 5000.2 specifically states that Ada is still the required language for software development when the government is responsible for maintenance of the software. This is not an old policy; it was signed in March of 1996! It is clear that the policy is unchanged, even though the AJPO is finishing its mission. Like the F-16, the Program Office may close, but the product will be maintained as an effective part of the DoD's arsenal.Ø

Software Reuse Initiative

Now that I have cleared up rumors regarding Ada, I would like to discuss some very positive facts regarding Software reuse.

The SRI is a success. The SRI, under the leadership of the SRI Program Management Office in DISA, has effectively defined and implemented the Software Reuse Infrastructure. This infrastructure includes a reuse repository mechanism, educational and marketing initiatives, an on-line Reuse Information Clearinghouse, SRI Vision and Strategy, planning documents, and identified Service and Agency focal points.

The key emphasis of the established DoD Software Reuse Infrastructure is to use an architecture-centric, product-line approach. This approach is reflected in present efforts described within this newsletter. The SMART Initiative has as an objective the definition and implementation of a business model that describes how a software architecture-centric approach can be effectively implemented within the DoD. Product-line reuse is described from an Automotive Perspective in an article by Dr. Fred Maymir-Ducharme. CelsiusTech Systems AB of Sweden has demonstrated successful reuse on the level of architectures on the STRIC project.

In the next issue of the newsletter, I will discuss in more detail the elements of the DoD Software Reuse Infrastructure. Also, there will be articles on the tools being developed by DISA to help the Program Manager do software development within this infrastructure.Ø

Charles B. Engle, Jr.
Chief, Ada Joint Program Office


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