Federal architecture eyed as way to topple barriers

For many agencies sizing up potential technology components to shore up their information-sharing and collaboration needs for homeland security, the federal enterprise architecture will be a blueprint for the technology deployment and will

help ease the cultural barriers to cross-agency

cooperation.

"Government folks are not used to thinking about what they are doing as an enterprise," said Anthony Cresswell, deputy director of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany. "These organizations have to have two kinds of things worked out for themselves: What their business objectives are and what the larger objectives are at the enterprise level of one agency working with another."

Once implemented, the architecture will detail data ownership and date usage, so it is well-suited to demolish agency fiefdoms around data that may need to be shared for homeland security reasons, said Howard Stern, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc.

"The federal enterprise architecture is the Holy Grail," Stern said. "The architecture is a blueprint for how processes work within the agencies or the data requirements that need to be passed between processes for the ownership of that data...and then it talks about the kind of infrastructure that is necessary to support that application. [It] allows for an agency to know who owns what data, who touches it and who has responsibility for it."

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