OMB offers tech ?starter set?

Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office

The Office of Management and Budget released a draft white paper Oct. 25 detailing the technology standards the Bush administration is recommending so that new agency systems have a greater chance of being compatible and interchangeable with others across government.

For now, the component-based architecture will be used on the 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives overseen by OMB.

The component-based architecture concept is at the heart of OMB's Federal Enterprise Architecture and the E-Government Strategy's "build once, use many" idea. These are both aimed at getting the most out of the government's information technology investments, but component-based architecture "is a grand vision and will involve hundreds of stage gates, obstacles, and unprecedented agency collaboration to overcome," the draft states.

The draft guide, developed by the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office and the Solution Architects' Working Group, is intended to serve as a technical framework for agencies developing new systems. It does not outline requirements or rules. Instead, it outlines the technologies and approaches that, if applied across the entire government, would make it easier for agencies to share investments and information.

The document highlights the most common industry standards and new emerging technologies, which are intended to serve as a "starter set," and which will change as technologies mature. The standards cover everything from basic HTML to Voice Extensible Markup Language to Microsoft Corp.'s .Net platform.

In addition to the technical explanations, the draft guide also includes a series of frequently asked questions, simple descriptions of each standard and technology, and examples of how this approach can be used by multiple agencies.

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