Air Force Command and Control Information Processing in the 1980s

Trends in Software Technology

by Donald W. Kosy

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An estimate of what software technology future Air Force command-control (CC) systems will need and what is likely to be available. Most of the projected functional requirements for software — e.g., online data management for sortie planning — are achievable extensions of tasks performed today. More problematic are the qualitative and economic requirements. CC software, compared with other kinds, must be the most reliable, secure, acceptable, and adaptable to users' needs. Its development must stay strictly within cost estimates and time schedules as military budgets shrink. Comparison of CC software requirements with likely 1980s capabilities indicates probable difficulties in meeting such requirements as (1) real-time data entry and reduction via artificial intelligence techniques, (2) guaranteed software reliability, and (3) assurance that software designs fully meet true CC needs. To develop technology for overcoming those difficulties, Air Force software R&D must be adequately funded and properly focused. (See also R-1011.)

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