Code that Kills

Scott Rosenberg of Salon attended the Systems and Software Technology Conference to research the military’s dependence on software code.

The average acquisition cycle for a military product, according to conference speakers, is 10 years — and that’s an optimistic figure. Between the time the Pentagon commissions a system and a contractor delivers it, whole generations of private-sector computing software and hardware have come and gone.

XML and Web services are crucial for protecting America. If you’re writing software today for a system that’s going to take years to deploy, you have no choice but to plan on everything changing around you.