AdaIC News Winter 1996-1997

Services Building Track Records in Systematic Reuse:
Services provide input to annual reuse report

| The Services | Army | Navy | Air Force | For further information |

In one sense, software reuse is a given throughout the world of software development. Virtually everyone agrees that it is vital to holding down costs and increasing quality, and virtually everyone has reused code from earlier efforts. In another sense, it is new territory, with lessons to be learned and old habits to be changed every day.

The difference is that ad hoc, opportunistic reuse is only the very beginning of reuse. To be successful, reuse must be systematic; it must be an established process working throughout development; it must be based on the domains where development actually takes place, whether avionics or financial accounting or any other; and it must build libraries of proven resources than can be easily accessed when needed.

This is what is meant by “reuse” at the Department of Defense (DoD) Software Reuse Initiative (SRI) at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In SRI’s terms, this is a product-line approach — one that is systematic, process-driven, domain-specific, architecture-centric, and library-based.

Much work has already taken place along these lines. Now, those efforts must be given the widest possible circulation. One step in that process began on June 14, 1996, when Hon. Emmett Paige, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (ASD C3I), requested that the Services provide input to the SRI’s annual report to Congress. Ø

The Services — accomplishments and plans

The Service inputs have provided status updates on their programs, shown the accomplishments of the past year, and indicated plans for the future. While differing in particulars, the three Services are each working towards the same general goals.

Army — guidance, tools, and project experience

The Army’s input notes that the Army Reuse Initiative is not a program as such, but is more a paradigm or process of addressing and leveraging potential reusable components. The common functions and software identified are key to the Army’s Technical Architecture. Implementation of this approach is a business decision that considers cost, schedule, and functional requirements against the benefits offered by software reuse and the integration and interoperability offered by a common architecture.

Important among centralized activities, the Army has been providing general guidance documents to support increased reuse. On Apr. 26, 1996, the Secretary of the Army signed the United States Army Software Reuse Policy. The Army is assigning domain managers to domains that align with the current Program Executive Officer’s (PEO’s) organization. The Army is also staffing an updated software-reuse strategy and implementation plan.

In concurrent action with the publishing of the software-reuse policy, the Director of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (DISC4) drafted an updated Army Software Reuse Strategy and Army Software Implementation Plan. These two draft documents were reviewed and modified by an Army working group of software-reuse experts. Both documents were submitted Army-wide for comments and adoption in the last quarter of FY96.

The Army has also been moving ahead on tools and practical support for developers. For instance, the Army Reuse Center (ARC) incorporated a new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) search-and-retrieval engine into the Army’s Reuse Library to provide an interactive Web interface to the Defense Software Repository System. The tool also allows greater access to the ARC through the Internet and only requires the user to have a Web Browser. The new tool provides greater interoperability with other reuse libraries.

Also, the Army is capitalizing on the lessons learned in a Communication-Electronics Command (CECOM) pilot project with the Software Technology for Adaptable Reliable Systems (STARS) program. In particular, a follow-on pilot is addressing the business-issue barriers to implementing reuse technology when contracted to private industry. Additionally, many significant software reuse initiatives were executed outside of a centralized Army effort, and some of these are described in the Army report. Ø

Navy — achieving success within a practical framework

The Department of the Navy (DON) views software reuse as an essential part of the software development and acquisition process: As is true of other software development and acquisition practices, encouraging reuse makes sense in some instances, while in others it is simply not practicable.

From a Navy perspective, reuse is a practice or a decision point during the acquisition and development (including reengineering) process when the use of existing software assets is considered before new development is begun. The decision point exists for both government and contract developers because success in both communities is measured in terms of cost, schedule, and performance.

As part of the software development and acquisition process, the Navy has found that software reuse has not been implementable at the “enterprise” level. The primary factor readily limiting reuse at this level is that funding is provided on a program basis. There has been little incentive for one program to incur the additional expense of providing reusable components for another program.

The Navy’s success with software reuse is attributable to a Navy-wide awareness effort centered around the DON Software Reuse Plan, the DON Software Reuse Guide, and the support and funding provided by the SRI. Other factors, such as fiscal constraints, profit motives, maintenance costs, emphasis on architecture development, interoperability concerns, improved communications among programs, and the active involvement of the Program Executive Officers (PEOs) and Program Managers (PMs), have also contributed to the increased emphasis on reuse. The Navy finds that the momentum associated with these “natural” forces will likely sustain software reuse. It is Navy policy not to mandate software reuse but to consider software reuse prior to any new development and/or reengineering effort. This is consistent with DOD 5000.2-R, Part 4.3.5 (1 and 2). Ø

Air Force — Reuse support from conferences to tools

In its input to the annual reuse report, the Air Force highlighted several activities and products during the last year to support the DoD SRI — including participation in DoD planning and review meetings; planning, coordination, and execution of workshops, conferences, and conference sessions; and the publication of reuse-related documents that support program managers and engineers in the adoption and integration of reuse practices.

Besides supporting development and review of SRI documents (including the Reuse Vision and Strategy, the SRI Strategic Plan, and the SRI Operational and Management Plan), the Air Force has developed three guidance documents of its own: the USAF SRI Goals and Objectives, the USAF SRI Strategic Plan, and the USAF SRI Implementation Plan. The Goals and Objectives is complete, the Strategic Plan is undergoing final USAF review, and the Implementation Plan is planned to be released for USAF field review by the end of September.

Two important building blocks in the Air Force’s internal effort have been the Comprehensive Approach to Reusable Defense Software (CARDS) and Portable, Reusable, Integrated Software Modules (PRISM) programs.

Under the USAF CARDS Partnerships program, the Air Force developed the Reuse Methodology Fusion Framework — which aids program managers and engineers in the selection and integration of reuse methods into various software lifecycle processes. The CARDS Partnerships program also developed the Reuse Readiness Technology Transition Framework — which aids DOD organizations in assessing their current software lifecycle processes and environments and planning the adoption of reuse technology, concepts, methods, processes, and tools.

The USAF CARDS program coordinated and supported the SRI/MITRE, Inc., workshop on DoD Domain Scoping held in September 1995. The results of these efforts were presented at the 1995 and 1996 Software Technology Conference held in Salt Lake City. In addition, the CARDS program planned and coordinated Reuse 95 and Reuse 96 — focused conferences on state-of-the-art reuse practices.

The Air Force continues to pursue an active agenda in software reuse. While it notes funding constraints, current plans include continuing current efforts aimed at:

For further information

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Additional information can be obtained through the ReuseIC at 1-800-REUSE-79 (738-7379). Ø