AdaIC News Winter 1996-1997
Ada Joint Program Office - The Phoenix
This has been an enjoyable labor of love for me, and I will miss the people and the staff of the AJPO.
The AJPO remains open
The decision to close the AJPO was predicated upon the view that it had completed its mission, i.e., Ada 95 was an approved international standard, and its infrastructure was in place. This was a reasonable view. However, as part of the closing of the office, much work went into defining exactly what the AJPO did and how it did it. A consequence of this effort was that it became apparent that the AJPO was still needed to support and expand the infrastructure of the Ada effort. This realization caused the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to decide to continue the office in its present form. Consequently, the AJPO will remain open until at least FY99. The budget for FY97 was increased to compensate for the office remaining open the full fiscal year. There will be no closing in June of 1997! Ø
This has had many ramifications. First, the AJPO had handed off its oversight of Ada compiler validation to the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) effective 1 October 1996. This was a planned part of the phase out of the office and occurred on time. However, NIST has since decided to phase out its validation activities for all languages. And since the AJPO will remain open, it seems prudent to keep this capability within the AJPO. As a result, effective with the introduction of the Ada Compiler Validation Capability (ACVC) 2.1 on 1 April 1997, the AJPO will once again assume responsibility and authority for all validations. The Ada Validation Office at the Institute for Defense Analyses has already been funded to continue its role in this effort. Additionally, many of the other transfers of AJPO responsibility mentioned in the previous newsletter have been halted. Those that already occurred have been reversed. The AJPO will continue as before. Ø
The NRC Study
This change of plans was made before the public announcement of the results of the National Research Council (NRC) study of Ada policy. Dr. Barry Boehm headed this group of distinguished experts in studying the Ada policy within the Department of Defense (DoD) on behalf of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, the Hon. Emmett Paige, Jr. The positive findings of this committee independently supported the decision to keep the AJPO open.
The Boehm study made several key findings. One was that there is no better language for high-assurance (high-reliability) software than Ada. As a result, they have recommended that all warfighting software continue to be written in Ada. Further, enforcement of this requirement should be more rigorous!
On the other hand, systems without a high-reliability requirement (are there any?), specifically information systems, should be written in whatever language is best for the application — meaning that Ada will compete just like any other language for this section of the market, and the selection will be made on the basis of criteria decided by the program manager.
Another finding of the Boehm study was that the Ada infrastructure needs to be supported by the DoD since the commercial share of the market for Ada is limited. The committee recommended that the DoD provide $15 million per year to support this infrastructure, which would go to the AJPO to support the Ada community and vendors. This infrastructure support would include the creation and updating of bindings and tools to make Ada more competitive with other commercial languages. It would also continue to fund many of the successful initiatives started by the AJPO in recent years. They also took the more assertive step of saying that if DoD did not want to support the infrastructure for Ada at this level, it ought to abandon Ada altogether.
The Boehm study also made several very important findings in the area of software engineering and acquisition reform for the DoD. I suggest that if these findings are of interest to you, then you should obtain a copy of the report; it is available for downloading over the World Wide Web. (For further details on the report itself, and on obtaining copies of the documents available, see “NRC Study Recommends New Software Review Process, Changes in Ada Mandate” beginning on page 1.) Ø
Finally, I have some personal news that may be of interest. Effective 22 November 1996, I regretfully submitted my resignation as the Chief of the AJPO. This has been a very enjoyable labor of love for me, and I will miss the people and the staff of the AJPO. The support staff of Jay Lynagh, Joan McGarity, and Gary Shupe are impossible to over praise. They are dedicated civil servants who work very hard behind the scenes to make things happen. I will miss their support. In addition, the staff of IIT Research Institute (IITRI) are very professional and are also unsung “heroes” on the Ada front. Each is a dedicated professional with a “can do” attitude. Finally, there is the cadre at DISA. From DISA Director Lt Gen Edmonds, through his deputy RADM Gauss, and the new Senior Executive Service (SES) executive Joanne Arnette, I could not have asked for more supportive bosses in the chain of command. I will miss them all. Most importantly, I will miss the support of the Ada community and ACM SIGAda, all of whom have always been there to help me do this job.
I am moving on to newer responsibility because of an opportunity too great to miss. I will be the Vice President, North America, for Q-Labs, a software-engineering-services provider. Q-Labs is a subsidiary of Ericsson and has a worldwide customer base.
If you should need to contact me, my new phone number is 301/864-1177; or you can send e-mail to email@example.com.
Thanks again for all of your support. I am sad to leave, but very excited by this new opportunity. Stay in touch!
Charles B. Engle Jr.
Chief, Ada Joint Program Office
22 November 1996 Ø