Unlike its physical counterpart, software can be easily updated in response to changing threats and evolving situations. Private industry routinely takes advantage of this feature as a way to differentiate their products from the competition and provide new capabilities. Most people experience this as an update to their smartphone, computer or tablet, but this capability also has applications on the battlefield. To ensure the latest software can be quickly and effectively deployed to various systems, the Department of Defense launched a new, software-specific acquisition pathway as part of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF).
During an episode of Let's Talk Agile, one of DAU's many webcasts, Sean Brady, DoD senior lead for software acquisition in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, discussed the new pathway, designed to facilitate rapid and iterative software development and deliver capability to the user.
“My Army roots, that's where I was doing rapid fielding and rapid prototyping out of the Armament Software Research Center for many years,” Brady said. “That was a very exciting time, where we were always trying to get capabilities into the hands of Special Operations and frontline warfighters, and that was a sense of urgency that I really enjoyed that kind of work. This is personally very exciting for me because we’re going to see that level of urgency get applied to the mainstream with this new Software Acquisition Pathway. Considering the nature of the world we are living in, that mindset to move faster certainly was part of the SOCOM and rapid fielding roots for operation Iraqi freedom and enduring freedom … that mindset is now being applied here.”
The Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF) software pathway, released Oct. 2, 2020, was designed for software-intensive systems and is the recommended method to acquire software in the DoD. The pathway also integrates modern software development applications such as Agile software development, DevSecOps, and lean practices. Capitalizing on active user engagement and leveraging enterprise services, working software is rapidly and iteratively delivered to meet the highest priority user needs. Tightly coupled mission-focused government-industry software teams leverage automated tools for development, integration, testing and certification to iteratively deploy software capabilities to the operational environment.
Speed and cycle times matter in terms of reliability and security. To maintain an edge over its near-peer adversaries, the United States must possess the national security capability to update its systems rapidly and provide the latest digital solutions for its workforce.
“[This new pathway is] natively built for software, it is the preferred software pathway for DoD” Brady said. “No formal milestones, delegate those decisions down to the lowest level possible, exempt from JCID… no end apt treatment, leveraging enterprise services if the first choice. Not rebuilding the factory every time you want to start a new effort you want to leverage that infrastructure platform that is already securely accredited and then focus on the mission so you can go faster.”
To view the full webcast, please visit: https://www.dau.edu/events/Lets-Talk-Agile-with-Sean-Brady
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