Murphy's Law: June 23, 2005

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The U.S. Department of Defense is currently upset over delays in getting its multi-billion dollar JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) into production. There are problems with the software that these new military radios use. Since JTRS is all about rapid reconfiguration, the software is a key component. Why is the software having problems? Mainly because the Department of Defense insisted that manufacturers use specific software tools and supporting software. Rather than just tell manufacturers to, make it work., the Pentagon bureaucrats insisted on getting into the details. This has backfired, as it usually does when bureaucrats do that sort of thing. It has happened before, in the 1970s, when the Pentagon tried to force defense contractors to use a new software language, ADA, for all military related work. While a great idea in theory, as are similar proposals for JTRS, it didnt work in practice. But the Pentagon is very reluctant to admit error, or defeat, in these matters. Much better to spend billions more and let the needed equipment arrive late, and missing important capabilities. Its something of a tradition. And you know how some people in the military, even Pentagon civilians, can be about tradition.

 


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