DISA and OSSI (an OTW subsidiary) sign formal agreement to open source CMIS

ARLINGTON, Va – The Defense Information Systems Agency announced the establishment of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) today. The agreement will pave the way for collaboration and partnerships between the federal government, non-profit organizations, academia, and industry to research and develop cutting-edge software for users in DoD, governments at all levels, and the public.

The CRADA focuses on release of an open source version of DISA’s internally developed Corporate Management Information System. CMIS is a Web-based federal workforce management and administrative software suite with nearly 50 applications and tools to manage human resource, training, security, acquisition and related functions for more than 16,000 DISA users worldwide “CMIS is a core product within the DISA’s IT systems,” said Jack Penkoske, Director of Manpower, Personnel and Security. “We have a lot invested in CMIS and many other government agencies want to adopt it. Why not let them, using the CRADA and an open source model? And why not also open it to industry, academia, and the Open Source community? This approach not only lets them use CMIS but also lets us leverage their good ideas and modifications to improve DISA’s system, and we believe this will be a win-win for all involved.”

The announcement was made during a presentation at the National Security Agency and DISA Technology Transfer Showcase hosted at the John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. The event featured executives from both agencies who provided insights into their latest technologies made available for licensing through Technology Transfer programs.

“We did not want to re-invent the wheel,” said Richard Nelson, DISA’s Chief of Personnel Systems Support Branch at the Manpower, Personnel and Security Directorate. “We knew we had a solid product with CMIS, and we use it every day. After we decided the best way to create enhancements and modifications was through a collaborative partnership involving the non-profit sector, academia and industry, we looked for a partner who had experience with government, specifically DoD, as well as commercial and open source community connections. OSSI has provided technical and open source licensing expertise as well as insights in adoption and distribution strategies. And in using the CRADA vehicle, we can collaboratively pursue the three foci of research, development, and training to support of this project.”

“Creating an Open Source CMIS is important in several ways,” said John Weathersby, Executive Director of the Open Source Software Institute. “First, software developed by Government employees falls under “public domain.” By distributing the program under an open source license, the Government retains access to the system without having to worry that they’ll have to repay for the development of something that was originally created with public funds.”

“Secondly, since CMIS is now released under an open source license, commercial, academic and non-profit entities can adopt and support the system, as long as they adhere to the license agreement. There are two license variants available from OSSI: the Open Source License v.3 and the Academic Free License v.3,” he said.

“And finally, this demonstrates that the Government is looking forward to find ways of using open source as a valuable tool within their IT enterprise,” Weathersby said. “We applaud DISA’s foresight and believe it will enhance the viability of the CMIS program. It is a wise use of both technical and economic resources. We look forward to working with DISA and other government agencies who are joining this effort and will provide a schedule for updates and support services in the coming days.”

About the Defense Information Systems Agency
DISA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and provides real-time information technology and communications support to the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, the military Services, and the Combatant Commands. From its Arlington, Va., headquarters and through worldwide field activities, DISA offers IT services, capabilities and acquisition expertise that enable our nation’s military to accomplish their missions.

About the Open Source Software Institute
The Open Source Software Institute (http://oss-institute.org) is a US-based, non-profit, membership-based organization whose mission is to promote the adoption and implementation of open source software solutions within US Federal, state and municipal government agencies

SOURCE: http://www.disa.mil/News/PressResources/2009/DISA-and-OSSI-Launch-Formal-Collaboration-of-Federal-IT-System

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