CIOs focus on capital planning, architecture

CIO Council Architecture and Infrastructure Committee

Guidance for how to integrate enterprise architecture into capital planning and the development of a component repository are among the top priorities for the federal CIO Council's Federal Architecture and Infrastructure Committee, officials said April 9.

The council's new subcommittees for this area — focusing on architecture governance, components and emerging technologies — have set their goals and also the immediate tasks they intend to turn out products on, said John Gilligan, chief information officer at the Air Force and the committee's co-chairman. He was speaking at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

The Office of Management and Budget encouraged the committee's reorganization to provide a way for agencies to get involved in the development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), but also to make sure that the FEA will be used within the agencies, said Norm Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer.

In the past, the council has issued many recommendations and guidelines, but agencies could choose not to follow them. "Those days are done," Lorentz said.

The governance subcommittee's overarching goal is to integrate enterprise architecture into the government's basic management processes. As the first step, the subcommittee will develop guidelines for agencies to help them understand how to integrate enterprise architecture into their capital planning and investment control processes, Gilligan said.

But a big part of the management integration is going to be aligning the agencies' enterprise architecture work with the FEA. So, the subcommittee is also working to reconcile definitions and other basic nomenclature across all agencies' architecture frameworks, particularly between the Defense Department and the civil agencies, Gilligan said.

The components subcommittee is also looking to solve the problem of not having a common vocabulary across government for what is a reusable service or technology component, and plans to provide a single strategy that agencies can use as a starting point, he said.

The idea of a repository to store all of the common components will require many policy decisions, including defining criteria that must be met before a component can be included for all agencies to use. The committee expects to do focused pilot testing for a while before putting out a final system, Gilligan said.

The emerging technologies subcommittee is still developing its work plan and tasks, but members are already focusing on some specific technologies that the old enterprise architecture committee oversaw, Gilligan said. These include public-key infrastructure, Extensible Markup Language, directory services and assistive technologies, he said.

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