The Navy is seeking ways to encourage greater cooperation with its repository for sharing and reusing software and hardware to promote innovation and achieve cost savings, the service’s deputy director for open architecture said recently.

The Navy launched the Software, Hardware Asset Reuse Enterprise (SHARE) initiative five years ago so program managers and companies could deposit product information and allow access to others interested in using it for Navy’s programs. The idea is to build on existing systems already paid for while avoiding the costs associated with creating new ones.

“We’ve had a very good experience with it,” Nickolas Guertin, the deputy director, told Defense Daily.

The Navy has been going through the process of optimizing SHARE, including management of data rights and propriety information, which Guertin called a “tremendous learning experience.” Now the challenge is getting more people to use it.

“We are not getting as many deposits as we initially envisioned,” he said.

Part of the problem is program managers are focused on meeting schedules and managing budgets and have not dedicated enough time to utilizing SHARE, he said. Another is that industry can be reluctant to share their technology with other firms, fearing the second company would further develop it and leave the originator “decoupled” from its product, Guertin said. The latter is particularly sensitive for smaller companies, he added.

“It is a human behavior problem,” he said.

One way to incentivize use of SHARE could be to issue contract guidelines urging program managers to look for opportunities on SHARE, and eventually extend that to giving favorable treatment to proposals that incorporate products already deposited on SHARE, Guertin said. It requires a “cultural transformation,” he said.

SHARE reached its second stage with the development of a new database that provided greater flexibility. It is now moving toward SHARE III that will focus on creating greater transparency, Guertin said.

SHARE is a key part of the Navy’s desire to move toward open architecture (OA) systems. OA embraces the use of existing, commercially available technology to produce modular, interoperable systems with open design practices that can be easily upgraded and thereby reduce costs. The goal is reduce numbers of legacy systems that are expensive to maintain and upgrade as the service has come to realize it cannot afford operating older networks in their current state over the long term.