Open Source in US Defense Acquisition

On Jan 12, 2012, the Department of Defense held a public meeting inviting comment on the use of open source software in defense contracting.   Written comments were submitted by various organizations including the Aerospace Industries Association.  Those comments lay out the questions posed by the DoD regarding risks that open source software includes proprietary software (i.e. is infringing), ability of contractors to get support for open source software, and whether the DFARs (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations) should be revised to clarify the rights granted the government under licenses like GPL.  The AIA’s comments also raise the question of whether export restrictions are “additional restrictions” that conflict with GPL.  Another set of comments addressed the question of whether Apache 2.0, paragraph 9, which “provides that the licensee indemnifies the developer in certain circumstances,” conflicts with the Antideficiency Act (ADA) 31 USC 1341.  The ADA prevents the government from incurring of obligations in excess of appropriations or funds.