DOD to issue new architecture policy

The Defense Department will issue a new architecture policy in the coming weeks intended to improve information sharing among the services and defense organizations.

DOD Architecture Framework Version 1.0, which replaces a policy dating back to 1997, will provide guidelines for agency and industry program managers on how to write requirements for systems, budget for them, buy them and ensure they work together, Truman Parmele, the department's architecture framework director, said at the E-Gov Enterprise Architecture 2003 conference.

DOD defines architecture as "the fundamental organization of a system embodied in its components, their relationship to each other and to the environment, and the principles guiding its design and evolution."

Unlike the old policy, which looked at a system in terms of the products involved, the new policy focuses on the data being managed and exchanged, Parmele said.

The policy also supports the concept of jointness — harnessing the key capabilities of all services and agencies to field a force more powerful and responsive than each can offer in combat, he said.

DOD leaders hope the common approach to creating architectures will standardize future missions and systems design, improve data sharing among them and increase communications among the services, Parmele said.

They believe accomplishing these goals will lead to new business functions, platforms and systems that emphasize the strength of integrated capabilities rather than disparate products, he said.

DOD and industry need guidance for developing frameworks, said Arnold Rausch, senior management analyst at Eagan, McAllister Associates Inc. DOD has gone too long without a new policy, said Rausch, who worked on the new architecture framework before moving to the Dumfries, Va., professional services firm.

DOD has tried unsuccessfully twice since 1997 to update its existing architecture policy, Parmele said.

The CIO office was selected to lead the effort because it oversees all business systems and because information technology increasingly is used in administration and warfighting systems, he said.

During the past 18 months, the CIO office wrote the draft of Version 1.0, posted it online and responded to more than 550 comments from agencies and industry. The updated policy was due in August, but addressing the responses and the war on terrorism delayed its delivery, Parmele said.

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