Open software needs to be secure

Open-source software should be held to the same levels of security and licensing accountability as commercial software, according to a May 28 memo from John Stenbit, Defense Department chief information officer, to defense agencies.

The agencies should consult their legal counsel when using open software to make sure it meets all lawful licensing requirements, Stenbit said.

The memo on open-source software use in the Defense Department said that modified open-source code is subject to the same license terms and conditions as the regular code. This means that if an agency or integrator rewrites open-source code to add new functionality, the modified code may fall under the same licensing agreement as the original code.

Stenbit's memo also reminded defense offices that all open-source software, such as commercial software, must comply with requirements set by the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Policy No. 11. This requires that agencies use only technology that has been validated to meet information assurance requirements for secure networks.

A PDF copy of the memo may be found at

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here


  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.