Outsourcing a threat of national security ... !? - Indus Net Technologies

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Outsourcing a threat of national security … !?

December 01, 2006 by Mainak Biswas under Offshore outsourcing450 views
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An article published in Computer Today reads following:

A U.S. Department of Defense task force early next year plans to warn the Pentagon of a growing threat to national security from adversaries who could insert malicious code in software developed overseas.

I can’t stop laughing about this. Here is why:

  1. I don’t think DOD outsources projects overseas directly. They have strict vendor selection and shortlisting process. The vendors that they choose are all US providers and they sub-contract work to other providers who in turn sub-contract it offshore. Thus this cannot be prevented until the government creates a no-subcontracting policy.
  2. Almost all large software companies in US have a development center in lower cost countries. So, its not a “offshore work” problem at all.
  3. Even if the software in written in America, there is no guarantee that a “foreign national” will not work on it.
  4. There is a certain amount of expertise required in completing defense contracts. Thus, even if DOD outsources directly or the work is sub-contracted, I am sure only reputed and established company will have the man-power capable enough of meeting strict quality standards. Thus putting trojans etc is simply out of the question.
  5. This is strictly being Xenophobic. If they cant review the source code then whats the point in blaming outsourcing for that? How do they know that American companies are not putting something like that inside?
  6. If a policy mandates that only an American national can work on defense projects from American company located in American soil then the demand/supply economics will guarantee that they wont get as much software as they want and worse they will end up paying much higher prices for whatever they are getting.

Thus, the right question to ask is “what can we do to make the defense softwares more secure”? and not questioning outsourcing for that.

Read the rest of the story here : DOD Report to Detail Dangers of Foreign Software

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