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New Report Recommends Department of Defense Software Advisory Board

New Report Recommends Department of Defense Software Advisory Board

July 18, 2023—The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Emerging Technologies Institute (ETI) recently released a report urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a software advisory board. The recommendation is one of many in Coding the Future: Recommendations for Defense Software R&D. The report summarizes the outcome of an ETI workshop, held in collaboration with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), on software as a modernization priority for the DoD.

Software pervades the DoD, but the department faces challenges keeping up with the rapid pace of software evolution, according to the 2022 strategic vision statement from the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The ETI–SEI workshop, held in November 2022, brought together academic, industry, and DoD experts in software development and acquisition to discuss barriers and solutions to ensuring that software capabilities provide a competitive advantage to national defense.

One of the workshop’s chief recommendations was that the DoD should create a science and technology advisory board focused on software. “Given the speed and breadth with which software capabilities are advancing, and the amount of private investment pushing developments, DoD needs a routine touchstone to help it better understand and assess if they have their investment strategy ‘about right,’” wrote the authors of the Coding the Future report.

Other recommendations from the report include

  • creating a process for uncovering and prioritizing long-term software-specific needs as a foundation for software science and technology investments
  • developing tools to support software pipeline decision making
  • prioritizing the development of capabilities that will enable the maximum possible use of commercially driven, AI-enabled tools
  • focusing on tools and capabilities that use automation to minimize the technical debt associated with legacy code
  • streamlining the Authority to Operate (ATO) process
  • exploring the creation of standards of requirements for evidence about software systems

Learn more about Coding the Future: Recommendations for Defense Software R&D in the SEI Digital Library.