Defense to certify EA software vendors

The Defense Department will start certifying enterprise architecture software that is compatible with the agency's own architecture terminology, according to Truman Parmele, a project manager for the Assistant Secretary of Defense's Networks and Information Integration organization.

Parmele spoke at a conference being held this week on organizational architecture, sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

'We will have a list of preferred vendors that we'd like to work with,' Parmele said.

Each of the vendors' products can be used with the Department of Defense Architecture Repository System, which the military services can use for sharing and integrating their architectures.

By serving as a central repository, DARS was created to counter the growing interoperability of enterprise architecture development software, even though most products use the open Extensible Markup Language, Parmele said.

'Everyone talks XML, but what we find as you work with different tools, every [company] imports and exports proprietary XML. It's like apples and oranges,' Parmele said.

Compliant with the Defense Architecture Framework, DARS uses Version 2.0 of DOD's Core Architecture Data Model terminology for defining organizational components.

According to Parmele, the certification will ensure that the company's software can read CADM-based XML files and that it can convert and export user-generated files into the CADM terminology.

'The overall objective is for the people to interchange data without problems,' said Bill Wright, chief executive officer for Computas Inc., of Sammamish, Wash. 'If someone in the Navy needs to exchange data with the Air Force or Army, they can access the data and pull it right into the software they are using without writing a code or doing a lot of analysis of how that data maps.'

To generate vendor interest, the office undertook a proof of concept last fall with four companies to demonstrate that CADM-based data could be moved among different software programs.

The second phase of this work, now underway, involves vendors writing their own DARS-compatible plug-ins. The teams currently working through the second phase of a prototype of DARS include Computas, IBM Corp., IDS Scheer AG of Germany, Popkin Software and Systems Inc. of New York, Proforma Corp., of Southfield, Mich., and Schafer Corp. of Arlington, Va.

Companies that build compatible products will be certified after the prototype is finished in June, Parmele said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.


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