Assembling a model for the budget process

Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office

A business reference model that agencies will use in putting together their fiscal 2005 budget requests will only fully affect appropriations if Congress also uses it as a planning tool, said Norm Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer.

The Office of Management and Budget plans to release the second version of its Federal Enterprise Architecture business reference model in January, Lorentz said, speaking Oct. 23 at a Federal Sources Inc. breakfast in McLean, Va. Agencies have submitted comments on the first version, which OMB released in July.

The model aligns agencies' existing services and systems within common lines of business across government. Agencies will use the business reference model through the Enterprise Architecture Management System (EAMS), looking for areas for collaboration and consolidation within their information technology investments.

With OMB releasing the second version in January, agencies will be able to use it throughout the entire fiscal 2005 budget process, Lorentz said. This will allow them to find common initiatives in up-front planning rather than down the road after they have made commitments.

However, a budget request that looks across agencies and programs because of executive branch collaboration will face barriers in Congress, where committees will focus on agency-specific priorities. Therefore, many officials at OMB are starting to talk to the appropriations committees about how the Hill can use EAMS and the business reference model to plan for their reviews, Lorentz said.

"The Hill has to be part of that process, they have to have the ability to see what is going on," he said.

OMB already is using EAMS internally for analysis of the fiscal 2004 budget requests submitted in September, and three agencies are testing the system, Lorentz said.

Within OMB, officials also are looking at how to realign the agency's resource management offices. Those offices oversee and review budget requests, and are also structured by agency and program rather than by business line. "Everybody needs to be subject to the transformation," Lorentz said.

OMB plans to release the first versions of the other four reference models — for performance, service components, technology and data - by the end of the year.

IT is the easiest area to "practice" using the Federal Enterprise Architecture and the reference models because the community is already used to the concept of architecture, Lorentz said, but "ultimately this Federal Enterprise Architecture is going to be used to allocate human capital, as well as large fixed assets."


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