DOD rethinks closing AJPO

The Defense Department is reconsidering plans to close the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO) in June 1997 because of concerns about public perception of the department's Ada policy.

Some people within the department fear that "at a time when the DOD has expressed renewed interest [in Ada], to close the program office sends the wrong signal," said AJPO director Charles Engle Jr.

AJPO was created to guide the development and acceptance of the Ada programming language standard, which DOD has designated as its "language of choice" for large Defense programs. With Ada 95 being accepted as a standard last year by both government and international standards bodies, the major task of the office is complete, Engle said.

If the office were to be disbanded, existing AJPO functions—including technical and financial support for Ada research and development projects in DOD and industry, and support for Ada-related curriculum at universities—would be moved to other offices. Although many support programs would continue, DOD's Ada policy might appear weakened by having such functions decentralized.

"What we are saying is, we have a plan for closing the AJPO because we have created and matured the language," Engle said. "But we are continually reviewing that decision to see if it still makes sense in light of the current technical and political environment."

Recent rewrites of DOD 5000.1 and 5000.2R directives still call for "use of the Ada programming language to develop code for which the government is responsible for life-cycle maintenance and support."

However, DOD has commissioned a National Academy of Sciences panel to review its Ada policy. The report is due Oct. 31.

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