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1/14/2010
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Defense Department Taps New Cloud Service

The Army and Navy are using a new fee-based service from the Defense Information System Agency that gives DOD programmers increased control over software projects.

The Department of Defense is taking its next step into cloud computing by tapping into a new fee-based service from the Defense Information System Agency.

The new capability, called ProjectForge, is an on-demand service that lets DOD programmers and contractors manage software projects with increased control over software access and distribution.

ProjectForge is being offer through DOD's Forge.mil site, which was launched in April 2009 and is modeled on SourceForge.org, where open source projects are managed and hosted. Since then, DISA, the IT services arm of the DOD, has been offering a free service called SoftwareForge that can be used for collaborative development of open source software to be shared and reused among the military branches. More than 170 software projects are hosted on Forge.mil.

The new ProjectForge service provides many of the same capabilities as SoftwareForge—project management, identifying requirements, bug tracking, version control, and tools such as wikis and document repositories—but with increased access controls.

Rob Vietmeyer, Forge.mil project director with DISA, says ProjectForge is aimed at software development projects that are more closed in nature, such as those involving proprietary commercial software. "Often the government doesn't have the IP or copyrights necessary to redistribute software, and greater protection is necessary," said Vietmeyer.

Pricing for the service begins at $60,000 annually, which covers up to 100 developers. The Army is already using ProjectForge to develop an information processing suite for imagery and data deployed on its Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, which are replacing Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Navy is also an early adopter of ProjectForge.

The new capabilities are based on CollabNet's TeamForge platform, which supports application lifecycle management among software development teams, including programmers, architects, and managers.

Three more cloud services are planned for Forge.mil. They are CertificationForge, for agile development and certification, StandardsForge, for collaborative standards development, and TestForge, which will provide software testing tools.

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