CIO Council to help with architecture changes

Core.gov

Members of the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee will officially share responsibility for updating the five reference models of the federal enterprise architecture.

"The council will work through the AIC to make recommendations for updates and improvements," said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator of e-government and information technology.

The AIC's duties under this governance structure are not new, Evans told Federal Computer Week "We are formalizing that relationship," she said.

OMB officials will retain final approval authority, she said.

AIC members are still discussing ways to collect and evaluate recommendations, Evans added. Both AIC co-chairs — Kim Nelson, the Environmental Protection Agency's CIO, and John Gilligan, CIO of the Air Force — were traveling and unavailable for comment, according to their spokesmen.

The move to officially designate the AIC as the venue for recommendations about the reference model was spurred by federal officials' realization that OMB lacks the resources to do the job alone, said Owen Ambur, co-chairman of the council's XML Working Group.

"And if they (OMB) tried to, it wouldn't be good change management, because you need to involve your stakeholders," Ambur said.

Evans said the OMB chief enterprise architect's office lacks the staff to run the operational aspects of enterprise architecture. The position of chief architect is threatened by members of the House, who have voted to recommend the office's elimination.

The CIO Council also has limited resources, however, so the improvements process must be "self-sustaining and self-evident," Ambur said. One possible solution is et.gov, a project led by AIC's Emerging Technology Subcommittee, Ambur said. The "et" stands for emerging technologies.

The committee's Web site will offer a standard Extensible Markup Language schema to identify promising new solutions, Ambur said. The schema will include a "brief name, brief description, description of the elements, if there is a model that it adheres to already."

That searchable database will allow communities of practice to emerge and build cases for reference model changes, he said. The approach is mostly geared for the service, technical and still-unreleased data reference models, Ambur said.

The site is meant to complement core.gov's repository of reusable architecture components, Ambur said.

Formalization of core.gov as the official enterprise architecture repository is another part of the governance plan OMB and CIO Council officials are putting into place, Evans said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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