Feds work on melding architectures

Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office

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The biggest question facing government information architecture officials is how to match agencies' enterprise architecture information with the Federal Enterprise Architecture, experts said Feb. 10.

All the data held in agency-specific architectures will serve as a framework for the Federal Enterprise Architecture, said Robert Haycock, acting manager of the FEA Program Management Office.

However, figuring out how to align that data across all levels is far from being settled, said Scott Bernard, director of the Washington, D.C., programs for Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Agencies are currently using a combination of different enterprise architecture frameworks, each of which works in a slightly different way, he said.

In an effort to figure out exactly how to align all that agency data, the Office of Management and Budget is working with the CIO Council's re-structured Enterprise Architecture Committee, Haycock said. The governance subcommittee, which is responsible for the high-level policy surrounding this issue, met for the first time last week.

Meanwhile, OMB is still working on the five reference models that will make up the Federal Enterprise Architecture—the "meta-architecture" for all the agency efforts.

While definitions and frameworks may differ from agency to agency, the basic data being described and organized is much the same, so once all of the reference models are available, agencies should be able to map the data itself fairly easily, Haycock said. He made his comments at the Web-Enabled E-Government Conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by e-Gov, part of the FCW Media Group.

OMB plans to release the second version of its business reference model by March. The draft technical and service component reference models are undergoing review within agencies.

Kathie Sowell, a principal systems engineer at Mitre Corp. who is working on the Department of Defense Architecture Framework, agreed. The Defense framework is probably the farthest removed from the FEA, but developers of the framework have checked, and if components are collecting the data needed to meet DOD architecture requirements, the data should also qualify for the FEA reference models, she said.

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