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The Military Games Technology

Pentagon To Crowdsource Weapons Software Testing 80

An anonymous reader writes "The Pentagon plans to fork over $32 million to develop 'fun to play' computer games that can refine the way weapons systems are tested to ensure they are free from software errors and security bugs, according to a Defense Department solicitation. The goal is to create puzzles that are "intuitively understandable by ordinary people" and could be solved on laptops, smartphones, tablets and consoles. The games' solutions will be collected into a database and used to improve methods for analyzing software, according to the draft request for proposals put out by the military's venture capital and research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."
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Pentagon To Crowdsource Weapons Software Testing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:58PM (#38752830)

    I do weapons safety, including software.

    In short, no one in the DoD systems engineering group really gets the big picture here. When you see someone with stars/flag/O-8+ or an SES position touting safety in the DoD, they are always referring to operational safety. Safety as a weapons system design element is typically (70% in USN, 85+% in USMC, Army is even worse) considered red tape, and a waste of money. The exception to this is aeronautics development programs in all branches, with an exception within those groups for UAV's (despite their need for software safety more than anyone). So aero "gets it", except UAV's are still clueless.

    Since major contractors swap employees with the DoD regularly, even mature design houses have issues. This is also reinforced by the flow of money. If the DoD PMO doesn't budget for safety in the contract, the contractor isn't going to require it.

    Now, remember the above applies to all RDT&E safety. Given what you know of software systems, what do you think will bear the brunt of fielding an immature design: expensive to change HW or cheap & quick to replace SW? How many federal doD program end up short on their budget at the end of the development and integration cycle?

    There is the added problem that almost no one does safety research on weapon systems. Pharma, Nuclear, Aerospace, Civil Safety: yes. Weapons... sigh. One of the issues is that if you make explosives in the US you are typically only selling to the federal government. Thus, independent research doesn't happen, either.

    Should the information be released? Probably not. But the current state has major issues, and as software is more common in weapons and defense system, the resultant mishap is only going to get worse.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.