Ada Home
June 16, 1997


Ada Waivers No Longer Required by US DoD

by Magnus Kempe
Editor, Ada Home

The official US DoD position is that their programming language policy changed immediately after publication of the 1997-04-29 memorandum by Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) Emmett Paige.

Thus Ada waivers are no longer required for projects needing or wanting to avoid the use of Ada. The USAF has already issued its own implementation order.

In theory, Ada will remain a preferred implementation language, because according to the 1997-04-29 memo: "programming language selections should be made in the context of the system and software engineering factors that influence overall life-cycle costs, risks, and potential for interoperability."

Major factors expected to be considered in the language selection are:

- system/software requirements, including performance, interoperability, reliability, safety, and security

Do you know any language, other than Ada, designed to meet such requirements?

- system/software architecture

There is little to no experience relating such issues to programming languages.

- compliance with related directions and standards, and use of commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS)

We've unfortunately seen how much respect for and enforcement of policy and/or standards there has been. COTS is a vague notion, at best.

- use of development tools and code generators

This is probably an escape clause for 4GLs.

- long-term maintenance, including evolvability and supportability

When data has been collected, Ada has been shown to be the best choice --thatis, if maintenance costs are truly a concern.

- development cost, schedule, acquisition strategy and staffing

Ada development tools give the most programming support for the money. Programs written in Ada require less time to debug. And with the growing number of schools using Ada as a CS1 language, there should be a steady flow of Ada programmers entering the market in coming years.

Do you have comments or stories to share about the effects of the new US DoD policy?


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