Investing in Software Sustainment

Report Number: SYM-AM-15-090

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: Management & Resource Allocation

Report Series: Symposium Proceedings

Authors: Robert Ferguson

Title: Investing in Software Sustainment

Published: 2015-04-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: Proceedings, Thursday Sessions, Vol. 2, Symposium


In many government weapon systems, sustaining software depends heavily on organic engineering efforts. This is different from hardware sustainment (the more traditional form of sustainment), which often depends heavily on the supply chain and service providers and much less on engineering capability. Because of this shift, a larger portion of sustainment funding needs to be allocated to improving the sustainment infrastructure within government sustainment organizations. This includes the engineering processes, tools, and skills of engineering staff. Failure to recognize this need in a timely fashion has the potential to increase sustainment costs and, at the same time, degrade system performance. The decisions and processes are complex because various stakeholders make decisions at different times, yet these decisions are interrelated, impact one another, and create constraints on the ability of the sustainment organization to fulfill its mission. To deal with the complexity of the decision-making process, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) developed a simulation model for analyzing the effects of changes in demand for software sustainment and the corresponding funding decisions. The model allows decision-makers to analyze multiple allocation strategies in response to changes from mission command and budget authorities. The model has been tested and calibrated using historical data and is now in operational use by the Process Resource Team at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.