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NEWS | Sept. 13, 2023

Common Software Development Environment promotes collaboration and faster delivery to the fleet

By Madeline Keenan, NSWCDD Corporate Communications

“Our mission is to improve the efficiency of developing software and delivering capabilities to the fleet. One way we are doing this is through the development of a Common Software Development Environment (CSDE) across Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD),” Software Modernization Lead Leroy Mrozowski said.

Mrozowski is part of the Strategic and Computing Systems Department at NSWCDD and leads the CSDE effort.

For over 70 years, NSWCDD has developed a multitude of complex combat systems for the fleet, such as the Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile and the Maritime Strike Tomahawk, to further enhance capability and push the boundaries of innovation and development, yet also provide reliable systems that will respond accordingly in critical circumstances.

As software becomes more elaborate, it takes longer to develop and deliver to the fleet. One way in which NSWCDD is making strides towards minimizing software obstacles is the development of CSDE. It functions as a Development, Security and Operations platform, more commonly known as DevSecOps.

CSDE provides an environment for flexibility. Its standard set of tools and resources are available across multiple departments and projects simultaneously. The tools can be used for a wide variety of different projects and tasks allowing technical departments to collaborate more efficiently. Not only does CSDE host past data, but it can also be used as a repository to launch future capabilities, projects and initiatives.

“Many of the projects utilize their own specific tools or even have their own software development environments in place. When those exist, it creates inefficiencies,” Mrozowski said. “It may be cumbersome for an employee to consistently have to relearn different tools as they move to various software programs throughout their career because we are using different tools. With CSDE, we offer a common tool suite for all software developers along with a Community of Practice to share knowledge and evaluate new tools to potentially add to the environment. If they have the same set of tools, then you are going to have greater efficiencies across the board.”

Improving the efficiencies of the systems benefits not just NSWCDD, but also the Navy. “Having that common resource to retrieve data is huge,” Mrozowski added. “One issue we are navigating is the delicate balance between common repositories and the need to share knowledge in a research and development environment.”

Technology is always evolving, and software must continue to do the same to execute successful missions. With a standard set of tools, not only is it cost efficient, but software can be developed at a rapid pace to send capabilities to the fleet faster than ever. However, with the ever-changing environment, complex systems naturally take longer to reach the fleet. With CSDE, the time it takes to develop critical assets can be shortened significantly.

It is vital that the software environment is efficient across all facets as the environment is the interface between the developer and software factories. With CSDE, the ability to move capabilities to different software factories creates a faster chain of events for critical assets to be developed efficiently and deployed to the fleet.

One example that demonstrates the value of CSDE is the collaboration with the Integrated Combat Systems Department and their Gridlock and Track Correlation Microservices effort. The goal of this initiative was to update the legacy Shipboard Gridlock System with Auto Correlation system by redesigning and developing it in a more modern programming language. The CSDE team was able to quickly onboard the team and having a core set of concepts and tools that CSDE provides streamlined the redevelopment process and aligned functions at a rapid pace.

The NSWCDD team has since transitioned the capability to the Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Forge Software Factory which facilitates the maturity of the capability. The Forge develops capabilities using cloud resources to deploy new software into the fleet.

Not only does having tools and concepts that are in sync between CSDE and the Forge provide a simpler avenue of development from concept to deployment, but it also highlights a critical perspective of how early software development transitions to the Navy Software Factory ecosystem.

“With all of the software development that is done at NSWCDD, you can see the bigger picture and the difference we are making that directly impacts the fleet,” Mrozowski said.