Research Projects - Academic Year 2016-17
AGILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ENVIRONMENT
By Lareina Adams
Many Department of Defense (DoD) information technology (IT) programs are plagued by immense bureaucracy, seemingly endless documentation, cost overruns, and poorly defined requirements that cause considerable delays in getting needed capabilities to the field. To facilitate the more efficient and timely delivery of capabilities to the warfighter, the DoD has emphasized finding ways to improve the acquisition of capabilities for the warfighter. One strategy is Agile software development. DoD’s interest in Agile prompted policy updates and initiatives such as Better Buying Power that accentuate innovation, speed, and elimination of bureaucratic processes. However, lack of agility is still identified today as a persistent issue. This study examined the DoD acquisition framework to determine the extent to which it facilitates or hinders Agile IT software development. The qualitative investigation included a historical review of literature from industry and government. The review revealed six areas specific to the DoD acquisition process that presented challenges and constraints: acquisition oversight, contracting, cost estimation, information assurance, program cost and performance monitoring, and requirements management. Additionally, culture was highlighted by the Software Engineering Institute and others as a principal barrier to adopting Agile in the DoD. Agile should not be considered a blanket solution for all DoD IT programs. However, as MITRE asserted, it is a viable option for programs able to streamline their organizational structures to accommodate a process that emphasizes smaller, more frequent capability releases.
A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR URGENT ACQUISITION PROGRAMS
By Stephen F. Conley
When the Secretary of Defense, combatant commander, or combat unit in theater determines an immediate capability need, the Department of Defense (DoD) and its acquisition community pushes bureaucracy aside to support the warfighter. The requirements process changes from a Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System to an Operational Needs Statement or Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement. Urgent acquisition policy focuses on getting capability to the field. Yet, when an urgent capability is determined to be so successful and so useful that it should be fielded across an entire Service, there is no formal transition process. In July 2016, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics wrote, “DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5000 series guidance does not address the process of the transition of QRCs to PORs” (Kendall, 2016, p. 5). This study advances a model for urgent acquisition that can inform DoDI 5000.02 with respect to establishing needed processes for transitioning urgent acquisition initiatives into programs of record. The review of policy and literature has led to the creation of a potential program model for urgent acquisition transition. This model may serve as a template to support further professional discussion with the hope of helping program managers avoid inefficiencies and incorporating the results into DoD 5000.02 policy.
THE 1970S AND EARLY 1980S: ENABLING A MILITARY OFFSET?
By Brian DeBiase
Looking at past “offsets”—gaining an advantage over an adversary—might provide insight to the institutional Army on how to develop and implement a Third Offset. Although an examination of history may not point to the answer for the Third Offset, it may bring to light the factors that made past offsets successful and offer a model that leaders can use as they wade through the options. Coming out of the Vietnam War, the Chief of Staff of the Army and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) commanders recognized that the Army needed to change, used the 1970s to develop that change, and then was able to integrate its technology investments/acquisitions to complement new doctrine. Although there was a Department of Defense effort to use technology as a force multiplier to offset the Soviets, senior leaders had already realized this need by the time Secretary Harold Brown and Undersecretary Perry undertook technology investments in the late 1970s. The Army was able to complement Brown and Perry’s effort due to doctrinal changes and investments already made. TRADOC worked to understand how its technology/acquisition investments complemented its operational concepts and doctrine and to ensure that these investments would prove successful in meeting the threat. There was a role to play both for concepts (devised to meet the strategic environment) and technology/acquisition innovation in the Second Offset. More...
SHOULD PROJECT MANAGERS BUY TECHNICAL DATA?
By Jerry Harper
Aligning technical data needs to program life-cycle requirements is key to sustaining, repairing, and acquiring additional products in the future. The purpose of this research is to help the acquisition workforce understand the data rights challenges associated with commercial and nondevelopment item procurements. The research draws on available secondary sources of information on technical data rights from Department of Defense directives and instructions, guidebooks, and official Government audit reports. The author’s analysis finds that there is sufficient information to guide acquisition professionals on technical data procurement and management. The conclusion is that acquisition professionals should procure technical data rights for commercial and nondevelopmental items for products that will be in the Army’s formation after the procurement contract has expired. This paper also makes several recommendations that acquisition professionals can use to structure intellectual property strategies.
IDENTIFYING THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR ARMY MIGRATION TO A MODULAR OPEN SYSTEMS APPROACH FOR FUTURE AND LEGACY SYSTEMS
By Phillip Minor
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, cites the modular open systems approach (MOSA) as both a business and technical strategy to reduce the cost of system development and sustainment. The Better Buying Power 3.0 directive sets the expectation that MOSA adoption will result in increased innovation and competition, leading to lower cost. With a few exceptions, policy directs developers to consider open source software first when building new capability. Even with the abundance of guidance, a lingering question remains. What is the return on investment (ROI) for building and or migrating systems to a MOSA? This research sought to answer that question.
To answer the question raised above a review of a cross-section of MOSA-related material was conducted. The material included industry analysis, system and software development best practices, government/DoD policy, and acquisition law and guidance. The research revealed an overwhelming amount of data highlighting the benefits of using MOSA both in industry and government. Industry has fully adopted MOSA and continues to innovate on ways to deliver capabilities and software services using MOSA constructs. One can see MOSA in service-oriented architecture, cloud services, modular programing, and the proliferation of open-source software.
Numerous examples of MOSA-related efficiencies were uncovered. These include streamlined development made possible by the use of modular and open-source software, reduced reliance on proprietary products by selecting open standards, ease of sustainment and upgrades made possible by modular code, well-defined interfaces using commonly agreed standards, and obeying the rules of cohesion and coupling. A number of specific project examples across government and industry attest to the value of using MOSA. While the research did not definitively quantify the ROI for implementing MOSA, it clearly shows there is a significant ROI for adopting MOSA.
HOW WELL CAN EXISTING SOFTWARE-SUPPORT PROCESS ACCOMPLISH SUSTAINMENT OF A NON-DEVELOPMENTAL ITEM-BASED ACQUISITION STRATEGY?
By Graciano Nikolich
The Department of Defense is increasingly moving toward software-intensive tactical systems. Software sustainment presents a differing set of characteristics over its hardware counterpart. To understand better how these differing characteristic may affect the current support processes established for the hardware-dominated landscape, this paper examines how a recent, ongoing, acquisition of a software-intensive tactical system (Joint Tactical Radio System) is aligning to the existing DoD and Army policy and guidelines for software sustainment. The paper further tries to identify potential disconnects presented by the DoD/Army’s movement toward acquiring systems under the Non-Developmental Item (NDI) strategy. Under an NDI acquisition, the program manager acquires the end system with little to no development contribution or design insight. Recommendations are made to assist the Army in recognizing such challenges and considering modifications to the current processes.
PROGRAM PROTECTION IN DEFENSE ACQUISITION
By Johnathan G. Reiner (Limited distribution. Requests for distribution should be referred to the author at, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This research examines how overarching Operations Security (OPSEC) guidance (specifically the Program Protection element of policies and procedures) is addressed, integrated into the defense acquisition process, and subsequently translated into acquisition workforce training. The study investigates whether an increased emphasis on Program Protection through training will significantly reduce the loss of technology to our adversaries. Primary sources of OPSEC policy and guidance were reviewed and synthesized into an overarching hierarchy. Mandatory and elective training were examined and mapped to OPSEC policies, and the effectiveness of training delivery methods was assessed. Results revealed a complex relationship of policies and procedures, with a clear delineation between tactical and acquisition implementation of OPSEC; large inconsistencies between service-specific OPSEC policies were noted. Mandatory and optional training requirements for military, civilian, and contractor personnel were found to be insufficient for creating a strong awareness of Program Protection amongst the Defense Acquisition Workforce. Key Program Protection training is optional and not tied to acquisition career field certifications, and it is virtually nonexistent for contractor personnel, who are limited to annual mandatory training that is tactically focused.
TELEWORK AND THE MANAGER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP
By James V. Shillingford
Leaders within the federal government recognize the important role that telework plays in supporting and maintaining a healthy work-life balance for its workforce. While much has been written about the positive effects of telework, almost no attention has been paid to the impact it can have on relationships.
This paper examines telework’s impact on relationships, specifically the manager-employee relationship. The importance of the manager-employee relationship cannot be overstated, because the quality of that relationship will more than likely affect the overall health and performance of an organization. And telework radically changes that relationship. It changes not only the way managers and employees interact, but how they view each other and their organization. Understanding the psychological effects of telework will better prepare our workforce to function in an increasingly virtual work environment.
Using a causal-comparative research method, this paper examines the impact that telework can have on relationships and makes some suggestions on how to improve telework training in order to help build and maintain a positive work environment. More...