Contracting for embedded computer software within the Department of the Navy
McCaffrey, Martin J.
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Over the past 15 years the reliance on computer software, especially within critical weapons systems, has grown in orders of magnitude. Government reports during this same period, however, consistently cite the poor success rate experienced by the Department of Defense in contracting for the development of specialized software as an area of great concern. This thesis investigates the guidance provided by the Department of the Navy, and the contractual methods available, to program managers and contracting officers regarding the procurement of custom designed software. The research conducted concludes that the majority of the blame for software procurement problems should fall upon the personnel within the acquisition system. The problem is a problem of attitude concerning software development. Although the system is admittedly cumbersome, the underlying causes resulting in cost overruns, schedule delays, and poor performance are not with the mechanics of the procurement system. Program managers and contracting officers currently have the tools available within the acquisition system to improve their ability to contract for the development of custom designed software.
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