Lack of software management guidance has been identified as a major concern for Air Force organizations involved in the acquisition and sustainment of software-intensive weapon systems. Over the past ten to fifteen years, virtually all previously existing software-related Air Force policy, guidance, and training has been rescinded or eliminated. This has happened even as the software contribution to overall weapon system capability continues to increase, and almost all software intensive system development efforts are challenged to satisfy their cost, schedule, and performance baselines. Results of numerous independent reviews have shown that problems encountered on past programs are being repeated on current programs.
Section 804, ―Improvement of Software Acquisition Processes,‖ of Public Law 107-314, Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, placed a new emphasis on software acquisition process improvement, focused on acquisition planning, requirements development and management, project management and oversight, and risk management. Furthermore, the Act requires metrics for performance measurement and process improvement, a process to ensure acquisition personnel have appropriate experience or training, and a process to ensure adherence to acquisition processes and requirements.
This guidebook addresses these known issues and sets top level Air Force expectations for the development, acquisition, management and sustainment of weapon systems software and software embedded in Air Force systems, so that software-related problems that are now too typical can be understood and avoided in the future. The principles and techniques in this guidebook will generally apply to all software domains, but the targeted domains include aeronautical, electronics, weapons, and space systems. The intended audience includes Project Officers, systems/software engineers, and other engineers that have a software acquisition element in their project. Software engineering is an integral part of system acquisition and systems engineering (SE), and the guidance offered herein is intended to fit within and support current management and systems engineering approaches in Air Force systems and acquisition programs.