Defense Digital Service

U.S. Defense Department escalates commitment to open source software

Photo: U.S. Defense Department

Photo: U.S. Defense Department

The U.S. Defense Department is escalating its commitment to open source software with a proactive push for agency participation to publicly share custom-developed code.

In an October memo DoD says:

“The DoD must reform its processes, adopt agile acquisition and software development practices and more diligently contract for, license, mark, receive, and release our custom-developed source code. We must do this to create better technical outcomes for our users, improve our security posture, and foster a culture that will attract software talent to the Department.”

The memo states the departments’s chief information officer and the Defense Digital Service are collaborating to support this effort, including a 30-day timeline to inventory code, establish points of contact and authorizing officials, and develop less restrictive license designations.

On its website dedicated to open source adoption,, DoD says:

Modern software is open sourced software (OSS). The creative contribution of individual developers to help solve complex problems of impact is largely untapped by DoD. We must more actively participate in the open source and free software communities if we are to truly reap the benefits of OSS.

The U.S. Government released its Federal Source Code Policy in July 2016. According to the policy compliance dashboard, DoD is currently listed as non-compliant.

DoD re-launched in February 2017 and, according to, the department has 4,966 repositories on the code sharing platform GitHub.