The Department of Defense (DoD) must continue to develop, sustain, and update its software-based capabilities. For the Department of the Navy (DoN), the life cycle costs of software continue to grow; over time, developing code will not be cost effective. An alternative to developing code is to further integrate open source software (OSS) into DoN programs. OSS is software that grants users the ability to view, use, and change the software source code. The use of OSS has been extensively researched, as addressed in the MITRE Corporation’s study on free and open source software (FOSS) in the DoD, completed in 2003. Despite favorable reports and published DoD policy, and the widespread successful use of OSS in current software, program managers are reluctant to fully integrate OSS into the DoN due to concerns with legal requirements, cybersecurity, total expenses, and the ability to implement and control OSS on classified systems while adhering to security regulations. This study utilized a quantitative, scaled approach to determine the risks and benefits to open sourcing for all DoN software. Several OSS case studies were examined. This research concluded that while OSS has been tested and proven cost-effective in certain areas of the DoN, it may not be the most efficient solution for all DoN projects. Therefore, the DoN should consider further implementation of OSS in security, software development, infrastructure support, and for program lifecycle cost reductions.
Burke, Karen L.
Information Technology Management
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Science in Information Technology Management
Information Sciences (IS)
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.