OMB's chief architect Burk to retire

Richard Burk, the Office of Management and Budget's chief architect, is retiring after more than 35 years in government.

Burk has been OMB's chief architect since 2005 and spent 29 years at the Housing and Urban Development Department. His last day will be Sept. 30, Burk said in an interview with Federal Computer Week.

'I've spent 35 years in government with a passion for good government, and I want to see if I can continue it outside the structure of government,' he said. 'I fully intend to continue working in the federal information technology community.'

Burk said he has not been looking for a new job but figures he will land in the private sector.

In almost two years as OMB's chief architect, Burk has been instrumental in getting agencies to make their enterprise architectures operational. He has led the development of many guides to help agencies make better use of the modernization blueprints, and he has been an evangelizer of bringing enterprise architecture out of the 'IT ghetto' to show value to the agency's mission.

Burk has led the development of the Federal Transition Framework (FTF), which helps agencies understand how governmentwide initiatives fit into their enterprise architectures. He pushed agencies to do segment architectures, which detailed the architecture of one agency mission line to help prove the value of the enterprise architecture to business owners.

'Dick Burk's advocacy of segment architecture has been brilliant,' said Con Kenney, the Federal Aviation Administration's chief architect. 'His argument to focus EA on mission and not on the back office has really made a difference. It would be easy to spend a lot of time modeling processes and applications that no one really cares about.'

One agency architect, who requested anonymity because the person was not approved to talk for the agency, said there would be great concern in the chief architects community if Burk left because he has done such a good job. 'Who could replace him?' the architect asked.

Burk said no decisions have been made about who would step in for him, even temporarily.

Burk still plans to get some significant things done in the next six weeks, he said. OMB likely will release an updated FTF guidance. It will help agencies use the framework when looking at cross-agency projects in their enterprise architectures.

He also said OMB's guidance for measuring the value of enterprise architecture is in the final stages. He did not know when the agency  would release it.

'What Dick Burk has done as chief architect is establish and articulate a planned approach to move EA forward and cause an impact and influence what EA can be,' said Mike Tiemann, former Energy Department chief architect and now chief executive officer of EA Werks, a consulting firm.

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