Systems chiefs praise EA focus

CIOs are getting more support from agency heads, thanks to the enterprise architecture focus of the Office of Management and Budget and the President's Management Agenda.

'It is no longer a challenge to convince senior management that architecture is important,' Air Force CIO John Gilligan said at a recent enterprise architecture conference in Vienna, Va., sponsored by the Open Group of San Francisco.

For example, he said, Air Force secretary James G. Roche chartered a group to develop an enterprise architecture for the service's business modernization effort. The group, with assistance from IBM Corp., was given just 60 days to draft an initial framework. That way, the architecture drives the modernization decisions and doesn't become an end in itself, Gilligan said.

The Air Force business framework will mesh with the Defense Department's other enterprise architecture projects. 'Don't create things new,' he said. 'Borrow from what's already been done.'

Working fast has also been a hallmark of architecture efforts at the Homeland Security Department, said Amy Wheelock, who co-chairs the DHS Architecture Working Group. Her crew found it daunting to draft an initial Homeland Security enterprise architecture in only four months.

'Clearly, we did ourselves a favor by having something to start the conversation with,' she said, referring to work done by the White House Homeland Security transition team.

DOD's Architecture Framework 1.0, at aitc.aitcnet.

org/dodfw, replaces the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Core Architecture Data Model. It comes with a so-called deskbook of supplementary guidance, said Fatma Dandashi, a researcher with Mitre Corp. of Bedford, Mass., which helped DOD with the task.

The framework emphasizes capability-based analysis, she said. In other words, DOD officials will define the tasks and then look for systems to support them, instead of the other way around.

The Army's enterprise architecture efforts are geared toward giving soldiers a 'common, relevant operational picture,' Brig. Gen. Dennis C. Moran said. Moran serves as the Army's director of information operations for networks and space.

Fred Riedl, an open architecture specialist for the Navy's Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, said open architecture standards will help the service keep pace better with emerging technologies.

The new ships the Navy is building now for launch later this decade will have completely interoperable platforms, Riedl said.

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