Achieving Better Buying Power for Mobile Open Architecture Software Systems through Diverse Acquisition Scenarios

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Scacchi, Walt
Alspaugh, Thomas A.
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Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
This research seeks to identify, track, and analyze software component costs and cost reduction opportunities within diverse acquisition life cycle scenarios for open architecture systems accommodating Web-based and mobile devices, where such systems combine best-of- breed software components and software products lines subject to different intellectual property license and cybersecurity requirements. Most large-scale government and business enterprises continually seek new ways to improve the functional capabilities of their software-intensive systems through lower acquisition costs. The acquisition of open architecture (OA) systems that can adapt and evolve through replacement of functionally similar Web-based and mobile device- based software components and software product lines (SPLs) is an innovation that can lead to lower cost systems, increased competition and innovation, with more powerful functional capabilities. OA system acquisition, development and deployment are thus seen as an approach to realizing Better Buying Power (BPP) goals for lowering system costs while jointly improving competition, adoption of OA systems that utilize standardized interfaces, utilize open source software (OSS) components where appropriate, increase small business roles and opportunities, use of technical development phase for true risk reduction and rapid prototyping, as well as doing more without more [Kendall 2015, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2015]. Finally, this acquisition research supports and advances a public purpose by investigating acquisition challenges arising from the adoption and deployment of secure OA software systems for Web-based or mobile devices, which is of contemporary concern to most academic, business, or government enterprises. Our research objective was to develop new ways and means for identifying, tracking, and analyzing the costs and other BBP 3.0 opportunities associated with the acquisition life cycle of OA software systems. OA system software elements can include either OSS or proprietary CSS components subject to different IP licenses and cybersecurity constraints. Such components may be configured into different, functionally similar versions that allow for common but costly CSS components to be replaced by their OSS counterparts, as a strategy to reduce software acquisition costs. Such replacement or substitution may arise at different stages of system acquisition including system design, integration, deployment, and evolution. But it is unclear what happens within and across diverse acquisition scenarios that (a) seek to produce assembled capabilities for command, control, communications, cyber and business (C3CB) applications utilizing (b) OA software components are widgets, apps, or mashups that arise from (c) multi- party engineering efforts in heterogeneous software producer ecosystems, and where (d) Program offices or warfighters are expected to serve as system integrators. Recent government and business enterprise policy encourages the move to component-based OA software systems, especially moves to embrace new mobile computing devices like tablets, smartphones, and Web- based software application services [Cochran and Reed14, Defense Information Systems Agency12a, Takai 2012] and better buying initiatives [Kendall 2015, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2015], informs us as well. Web-based OA systems and mobile devices systems often integrate components independently developed by software producers using OSS or CSS, which then may be integrated into complete systems by system integrators [Cochran and Reed14, George, Morris, Galdoris, et al.14, Reed, Benito, Collens, Stein 2012, Reed, Benito, Collens, Stein 2012, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014]. Acquisition personnel will increasingly be called on to review and approve security measures employed during the design, integration, deployment, and evolution of OA systems [Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013b, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013c]. Our effort builds on related acquisition research efforts at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) that address SPLs [BeJ10, JoB11], as well as on acquisition and development of secure OA systems built with widgets and apps [Conley, Brockman, DIreks, et al.14, Cochran and Reed14, George, Galdorisi, Morris, O"Neil14, George, Morris, Galdoris, et al.13, George, Morris, Galdoris, et al.14, Reed, Benito, Collens, Stein 2012, ReN14, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014c]. Other related research addressing OSS [HiW10, Ke12, MarL11], component-based software ecosystems [Endres-Niggemeyer 13, Reed, Benito, Collens, Stein 2012, Reed, Benito, Collens, Stein 2012, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2012b, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013c, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014a, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014b], and better buying initiatives [Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2015] informs us as well. Our research continues to demonstrate how complex OA systems can be acquired, designed, built, and deployed with alternative components and connectors resulting in functionally similar system versions, to satisfy overall system security requirements and individual system component intellectual property (IP) and cybersecurity requirements [Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013a, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013b, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2013c], as well as surfacing new challenges for achieving better buying power that can decrease (or increase) software acquisition costs [Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014a, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2014b, Scacchi and Alspaugh 2015a]. The research results in this report help to identify, track, and analyze software acquisition and development practices associated with different types of Web-based and mobile software components including widgets, apps, and mashups. This may then help us to highlight opportunities to realize cost reduction and improve opportunities to realize better buying power. Our research results are applicable to most academic, business, or government enterprises that deploy complex information systems. Next, our research results are documented in this Final Report and center on an analysis of six issues that we believe create new diverse kinds of acquisition scenarios for developing and deploying both conventional and mobile open architecture software systems, especially those that incorporate Web or mobile software applications as apps or widgets. Last, our research results have been well received in presentations to different audiences, including academic and industry research groups, the larger Defense community, and the Federal Government more broadly. In particular, throughout 2016 our research results have been presented to audiences at the 2016 Acquisition Research Symposium (Monterey, CA). Other project activities that produced material results include our paper on Recent Trends and Challenges Affecting the Acquisition of Open Architecture Software Systems, prepared and disseminated to accompany our invited presentation at The Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, CA. This paper accompanied our invited presentation at The Aerospace Corporation on our research in this project titled Emerging Research Issues in the Defense Open Architecture Ecosystem. Similarly, our paper on Issues in the Development and Implementation of Open Architecture Software Systems, prepared and submitted for publication in CrossTalk: The Journal of Defense Software Engineering. This paper was accepted and will appear in 2017. Finally, another material result from this project was an invited half-day tutorial addressing Beyond Open Architecture: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities in Open Source Software Development, which was presented at the 2016 International Conference on Global Software Engineering to an academic and industry audience held in Irvine, CA. As can been seen in these chapters, common and differentiated research results found in the chapters represent our efforts at reaching out to different audiences interested in our research, and what advice or guidance it may offer to such audiences.
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Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Program
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This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.