Software is a Renewable Military Resource


Posted: March 11, 2016 | By: John Scott

“The United States cannot retreat behind a Maginot Line of firewalls or it will risk being overrun.  Cyberwarfare is like maneuver warfare, in that speed and agility matter most.”
– William J. Lynn III. [Lynn2010]

Software is the fabric that enables planning, weapons and logistics systems to function: it might be the only infinitely renewable military resource.

In particular, DoD must have a software environment that is easily adaptable to changing mission needs; this software must also evolve at lower cost and be delivered rapidly so it can be used when it is needed.  This technological evolution entails a parallel evolution in acquisitions methodologies and corporate attitude to facilitate discovery, re-use, and modification of software across the DoD and U.S. Government. A new way is needed to develop, deploy and update software-intensive systems that will match the tempo and ever-changing mission demands of military operations.

Software code has become central to how the war-fighter conducts missions.  If this shift is to be a strength, rather than an Achilles’ heel, DoD must pursue an active strategy to manage its software portfolio and foster a culture of open interfaces, modularity and reuse [Scott2010]. Moving forward, the government needs to define a modern software intellectual property regime to broaden the defense industrial base by enabling industry-wide access to defense knowledge, thereby increasing competition and eventually lowering the cost of innovation. Over time, the military would evolve common software architectures and industry-wide baselines to increase the adaptability, agility and – most important – capacity to meet new dynamic threats.


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