EPA puts architecture info in contracts

The Environmental Protection Agency has started requiring contractors to adhere to the agency's enterprise architecture.

The agency has included a clause in all contracts stating that vendors understand and conform to the agency's information technology plans, Chief Information Officer Kimberly Nelson said today.

"We are really this year for the first time using the architecture to drive investments," Nelson said at an event sponsored by AFCEA International's Bethesda chapter. "Now it's real."

Nelson said that now the agency has a target enterprise architecture in place and wants industry to help develop and implement it. The agency's contracting office confirmed plans to implement the clause a few weeks ago, she said, although she was unsure of the exact date it was added.

The EPA will work with vendors to educate them on the enterprise architecture. "They have to understand what's there," she said. "A lot of what we're doing from a centralized standpoint is work they don't have to replicate."

EPA officials are currently compiling the enterprise architecture most recently submitted to the Office of Management and Budget and putting it on a CD for contractors. She said they will leave out confidential parts of the architecture, such as security, but that the overall plan must be public for vendors.

"Clearly it's a smart thing to do," Nelson said of adding the clause. "It's difficult to do unless you have the architecture in place."

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