NDIA backs CODER Act for better defense software acquisition and protection of service members

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Defense Industrial Association supports the bipartisan Creating Opportunities through Defense Engineering Requirements (CODER) Act of 2019, which aims to overhaul how the Defense Department acquires software while expanding opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses to compete for those contracts, the Arlington, VA-based organization announced June 7.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) introduced the bill this week. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) is a co-sponsor.

“In a time of great power competition, in which investments in critical technologies and rapid acquisitions are an integral element in warfighting capabilities, it is imperative the Defense Department be given the authorities to swiftly provide our servicemembers with the necessary tools to maintain a technological edge over adversaries,” said Hawk Carlisle, NDIA’s president and chief executive officer.

Carlisle praised Slotkin for introducing the legislation, which “identifies rapid software acquisition as a critical capability needed to support the warfighter. We look forward to working with both Congress and the Defense Department in shaping such vital policy.”

“As a senior official at the Pentagon, I saw firsthand how long it can take to get critical capabilities to our service members in the field,” said Slotkin, who from 2012 to 2017 served in several high-level Pentagon positions, lastly as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Now a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Slotkin said she is “committed to identifying a way to safely speed up elements of this process.”

 The CODER Act would specifically:

  • Modernize defense acquisitions to procure, develop, deploy and improve software applications.
  • Limit the contract amount under this authority to $50 million for one year and allow for an additional year with a contract limit of $100 million.
  • Provide for rapid development and implementation of software applications to be used with commercially available hardware and upgrades for embedded weapon systems or another hardware system solely used by the Defense Department.
  •  Excuse acquisitions through this authority from the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System Manual and Department of Defense Directive 5000.01, except to the extent specifically provided under the act’s developed guidance.
  •  Let the Defense Department provide software practitioners access to modern engagement and collaboration platforms to connect, share their skills and knowledge and develop solutions leveraging the full defense enterprise.
  •  Direct the Secretary of Defense to implement a software development training and management program to include all software acquisition professionals, developers and associated functions to develop solutions leveraging the full defense enterprise.

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit NDIA.org