DISA to create XML clearinghouse


The Defense Information Systems Agency will be responsible for creating a Defense Department Extensible Markup Language clearinghouse, according to a new policy issued this week.

The April 22 memo, signed by John Stenbit, DOD's chief information officer, and Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, is part of an effort to "support interoperability and minimize overhead" by creating a single clearinghouse and registry for creating, finding, reusing and unambiguously identifying XML components, the memo says.

The registry and clearinghouse will be accomplished "by identifying best practices, establishing partnerships with industry, public-interest groups and other governmental activities, and coordinating XML education and outreach," the two-page memo says.

The DOD XML registry and clearinghouse will be the authoritative source for XML components. "All program managers that use XML as an interchange format must register XML components in accordance with procedures established by DISA," according to the memo.

The memo was praised as a step forward in promoting XML interoperability.

"On a quick glance it looks good, which is what I would expect in light of DOD [and] DISA's leadership along these lines," said Owen Ambur, co-chairman of the XML Working Group established by the federal CIO Council.

"I believe it is very much in line with what we're aiming to do with registry services at XML.gov," he said. "I look forward to continuing to work very closely with DOD toward the establishment of a worldwide set of XML registries that act as one by virtue of compliance with the applicable standards for interoperability."

The XML Working Group, working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is developing a registry of "inherently governmental" data elements, document type definitions and schemas.

An April report from the General Accounting Office said that the DOD XML registry is part of the department's effort to promote interoperability vertically within individual projects and horizontally across departmental organizations.

Michael Jacobs, data architecture project leader for the Navy's CIO office, which recently issued a draft XML guide, said the DOD policy is a good first step toward formalizing the DOD XML registration requirements.

"The hard work is yet to come, in the form of the implementation guidance which will flow from the policy," he said.

The memo will be reviewed in at least one year, the document says.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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