Taking a Cue from Britain

Pentagon's tweaked data architecture adds views covering acquisition, strategy

NEW VIEWS: Jan Popkin, chief strategist at Telelogic, said adding new views to DODAF allows users 'to analyze and optimize' a system design.

GCN file photo

An Air Force agency has started using an expanded version of the Pentagon's enterprise architecture that has features drawn from the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

The new features, called views or products in the argot of systems designers, extend the architecture into the fields of acquisition and strategic planning.

The Pentagon's Defense Department Architecture Framework (DODAF) defines requirements for military systems design in much the same way that the Office of Management and Budget's federal enterprise architecture imposes rules on civilian systems.

Telelogic has included the DODAF extensions into the latest release of its software design suite. Telelogic's new tools will bring the DODAF into closer alignment with the U.K. Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF).

Alfred Thomas, acquisition manager at the Air Force Materiel Command's headquarters, said the acquisition features imported from the British framework 'would tie the user requirements into the rest of the architecture. In DODAF, it is assumed that user requirements are understood and fit into the hierarchy of the architecture.'

The business side

The upgraded tool suite also uses a top-level strategic view that is based on MODAF's approach to software engineering.

'The additions really bring the [information technology] program manager in line with the acquisition process itself,' Thomas said. 'The acquisition views identify the top-level tasks.'

In his work, Thomas said, he focuses on the business side of systems development.
'I see this as a good addition to the process of developing the enterprise architecture,' he said. 'Hopefully, they will be accepted by other defense [systems design] establishments.'

The transatlantic pedigree of the new features adds value, Thomas said. 'Between us and our Western'and Far Eastern allies, there is commonality in business processes,' Thomas said. 'When we find good processes, we tend to share them.'

Jan Popkin, chief strategist at Tele-logic, is a longtime leader in enterprise architecture who has participated in several pivotal committees and organizations, including the DODAF Working Group.

'The two new views ' the strategic view and the acquisition view ' work in conjunction within DODAF, allowing you to analyze and optimize' a system design, Popkin said.

He added that the new views help designers create and map capabilities that extend throughout the system.

'You put [the system's] strategic objectives into the [data framework] so you can tie down the goals and objectives,' Popkin said. 'That allows you to provide a road map of capabilities.'

'Basically, I am happy to see these additions to DODAF,' Thomas said. 'Hopefully, it will be looked at by the DOD software community. My initial assessment is that it will strengthen DODAF.'

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