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The End is Nearer - DoD Taking Steps Toward Flash Deprecation

March 16, 2020

Adobe Flash, the software that has allowed millions of users to create and play Internet animations since the late 1990s, is undergoing an industry-wide retirement (or “deprecation”) and will be removed from all major browsers by the end of 2020. That means thousands of hours of online content, much of it used for DoD education and training, will become unsupported and obsolete.

Representatives from the DoD Chief Information Office (CIO), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the DoD’s Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, and the various uniformed services have been meeting monthly to share strategies and develop policies for mitigating Flash’s phase-out. During the most recent working group meeting on 04 March, participants provided updates on their conversion of online courses, the alignment of policy directives to speed some mitigation plans, alternatives for continued hosting of some Flash-dependent content, and technology approaches and products for emulating Flash functionality.

While no one wants to miss the deprecation deadline, there are obvious challenges for converting–and even finding–the large volumes of existing Flash content. Online content obviously resides within formal DoD education and training organizations, but it also exists within program offices in support of specific systems, often procured outside of normal education and training accounts. Aside from finding all content within DoD that uses Flash, work is ongoing to determine what specific content must be converted or re-developed, and what content can be abandoned as outdated or duplicative.

The Flash Deprecation Working Group is led by the ADL Initiative and meets the first Wednesday of each month. To join the group or for more information contact Trey Hayden (SETA contractor) at (UPDATE: Working Group No Longer Meeting)