Architecture models advancing

OMB is developing several 'reference models' to support the Federal Enterprise Architecture

Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office

Work on the Federal Enterprise Architecture is advancing slowly but surely, and agencies should have several more models to work with by the end of December, the government's chief architect said Sept. 9.

The enterprise architecture, led by the Office of Management and Budget, is intended to provide the administration and individual agencies a better way to track and invest in the information technology infrastructure that supports all government services.

OMB is developing several "reference models" to support the architecture and will be working with organizations that have experience in building these models, such as the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), said Robert Haycock, chief architect at OMB. He was speaking at a ArchitecturePlus program seminar in Washington, D.C., that was sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Bethesda chapter.

One model — the business reference model, which outlines agencies' IT investments according to the lines of business they support -- is moving into its second version as OMB works to incorporated feedback from agencies, Haycock said. OMB released the first version for comment in July, and the second version should be available in early or mid-January so that agencies can use it during the fiscal 2005 budget development process, he said.

OMB started with the business reference model because "we wanted to be able to describe the business of an agency before we dive into the technology," Haycock said.

Other reference models include ones for performance, data, application and technical issues. They will focus on the common factors in each area across government. All, except the data reference model, should be available in at least a first version by the end of December, Haycock said.

OMB is still figuring out the best approach for the data reference model, but the performance reference model may be the one that takes the most work, Haycock said. The performance reference model, which will help identify common performance measures across government, likely will take longer to finish because of the basic difficultly of developing performance metrics, he said.

The version of the performance reference model that comes out this year will be a draft form that agencies will be asked to contribute specific performance measures to, he said.

For now, the Federal Enterprise Architecture includes only the civilian agencies, but OMB is working with the Defense Department to include its unclassified and classified infrastructure. OMB is also beginning to talk to the intelligence community to include those systems as well, Haycock said.

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