Defense follows the EA leader

Roy Mabry

For once, the Defense Department has been playing catch-up with the rest of government.

Over the past year, Defense created a new IT architecture that mirrors the Federal Enterprise Architecture, said Roy Mabry, a senior architect in the department's CIO office.

'Our reference models are not radically different from the Office of Management and Budget's reference models,' Mabry said at a recent conference on enterprise architecture in Washington sponsored by the Digital Government Institute of Bethesda, Md. 'We mapped our mission areas to OMB's taxonomy.'

DOD previously had gone its own way on EA, with its Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Core Architecture. But DOD dumped that data model last year and developed one that aligns with the rest of the government.

'To have true information sharing and security, we have to be planning across all of government, which means normalizing justifications across civilian, Defense and intelligence,' said Norman Lorentz, former OMB chief technology officer, who helped DOD begin its shift to a more common model. 'By using the FEA methodology, other agencies in theory could use DOD's work. All the components should be plug-and-play.'

Lorentz, now managing director for Federal Solutions Group of Vienna, Va., added that DOD decided to mesh its EA with the federal model because OMB was making funding decisions based on how well agencies' systems matched up against the FEA.

Mabry said DOD developed four major mission areas: business, warfighter, intelligence and enterprise information. The department's Global Information Grid Architecture encompasses all the mission areas and the Technical, Service Component, Business, Data and Performance reference models break down the mission areas into functions and subfunctions.

Mabry said Defense will finish the second versions of the reference models this spring.

'The reference models can help transform DOD because each simplifies the complexities of our missions,' he said. 'We took the FEA methodology as a high-level taxonomy and its definitions to organize the DOD mission areas.'

Mabry added that when his team was developing each reference model, architects found the reference models needed to be extended because they did not offer specific enough information about some of DOD's mission areas.

Now that Version 1.0 of the architecture is in place, Mabry said the CIO's office must make the case to program chiefs that they should be more involved in planning and deploying systems.

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