DOD to build EA from ground up

Strategy promotes 'tiered accountability'

BTA's road map to interoperability

The federation strategy requires DOD components to:

  • Develop and maintain an enterprise architecture

  • Map that enterprise architecture to the BEA

  • Make architecture mapping results available at the enterprise level

  • Adhere to the standards for data sharing established by the enterprise.

Defense officials say the department is too big to push its Business Enterprise Architecture down to all the military services and agencies. So, they're promoting a federated approach that focuses on the component agencies.

Defense components must adopt an organized structure that will align business rules and processes with the BEA. The Business Transformation Agency issued a draft of this structure, called the Business Mission Area Federation Strategy, last week. The strategy specifies how the smaller enterprise architectures will tie into the BEA.

'We realize that it's physically impossible for us to build an architecture at the BEA level that can address all of the requirements and [standardize] all the way down to the program level,' explained Dave Scantling, director of information and federation strategy for the Business Transformation Agency. 'Nonetheless, we have to have certain standards that are adhered to across the enterprise.'

The goal is to get to tiered accountability by mandating that the four services, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Transportation Command and the Defense Logistics Agency align their business rules and processes to the overarching BEA. Scantling likened the set of interoperable rules with the multiple levels of government'federal, state and local'working in tandem to achieve a common goal.

To get the word out about the federation strategy, BTA officials will spend this month and next on the road, visiting CIOs and their architecture staffs at each of the services and agencies.

BTA will incorporate some of the feedback from the consultations into an updated federation strategy to be released publicly by Aug. 31, Scantling said.

'Our intent is to achieve a process of consultation with the components,' Scantling said. 'We don't want to come across [as] dictating or driving things from the enterprise level. For federation to work, we view it as a two-way process with the components.'

After the final version of the federation strategy is approved in late summer, federation pilots will be set up to provide proof of concept for architecture federation between the BEA, component enterprise and program architectures. BTA also will use incentives to ensure the federation is done properly.

As BEA and the Enterprise Transition Plan are updated every six months and presented to Congress, the federation strategy also will be reviewed after the release of the BEA and ETP to see if changes or modifications are in order.

'We see that federation is an ongoing organic process, meaning it will be changing,' Scantling said.

How will the military organizations certify to BTA that they're in compliance? The governance structure is still being determined, but officials say one thought is to use the investment review boards as EA police.

First, the service would be responsible for self-certifying that any system being developed and valued at more than $1 million is presented to business mission-specific review boards, which comprise the principal staff assistants of various business mission areas and service undersecretaries. The IRBs make recommendations to the Defense Business Systems Management Committee, chaired by Gordon England, deputy Defense secretary.

The federation strategy provides a governance model for the services and agencies to align their architectures to BEA. The methodology for achieving a federation of business operations across the department is known as the Business Operating Environment.

BOE will be interoperable with the Global Information Grid DOD is building.

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