Flexible Software Funding

February 21, 2024

Dear Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Wicker: 

The distinctions between software development and sustainment continue to fade. Specifically, software development and sustainment has become a holistic endeavor in which the software of weapons systems is continually developed and improved to upgrade system performance. Despite this, funds continue to be allocated for software under two different funding mechanisms: the Program Management Office, for development; and Weapon System Sustainment, for sustainment.  What is required is a new mechanism which combines these two elements into a single, flexible funding structure, commonly referred to as “colorless” funding.

Congress has seen the potential benefits of adopting such an approach by authorizing three separate programs as a trial for this proposal: the Strategic Mission Planning and Execution System; the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System; and the Space Force’s Kobayashi Maru project. Based upon this progress, the Air and Space Forces Association (“AFA”) respectfully requests the Congress further grant the military services the ability to utilize colorless software funding structures and authorize its use on the Joint All Domain Command and Control (“JADC2”) program.   

The commander of Air Force Material Command recently stated, “you no longer have sustainment, development, and procurement money.  The lines are blurred between sustainment, development and production – particularly in the agile, secure DevOps environment we’re moving to…”  In fact, many argue that colorless software funding will make funding a software project more agile and responsive, especially in a joint environment.  Specifically, program managers continue to spend considerable periods of time resolving: program reprogramming issues, determining whether something should be funded through development or sustainment funding, or identifying alternative funding sources. 

By utilizing colorless funding, the time and cost spent on determining if a program is development or sustainment, reprograming funds, waiting for the next funding cycle, and identifying alternative funding sources would be greatly reduced. Accordingly, since each service will be involved in the JADC2, the utilization of a colorless software funding structure will provide the flexibility required to allow the program to apply resources as needed and appropriate.  In particular, the use of colorless software funds will enable seamless development and support in a joint development and sustainment environment. 

Therefore, the AFA respectfully requests the Congress further grant the military services the ability to utilize colorless software funding structure and authorize its use on the JADC2 program.


Bernie Skoch, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret.)

Chair of the Board

Bruce A. Wright

Bruce “Orville” Wright, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret.)

President & CEO