New chief architect Burk building EA bridge to agency mission

'Agencies have to understand EA can't just be a check mark that OMB wants. This is a great opportunity to reach out to the business people and articulate the role of EA.'

' OMB's Richard Burk

When Richard Burk takes over as federal chief architect at the Office of Management and Budget today, the 30 years he spent with the Housing and Urban Development Department will be behind him. And ahead will lie a rocky landscape he must navigate to get agencies to make better use of enterprise architecture.

'Not all the agencies are as focused as HUD,' he said. 'Some are a federated operation, and that presents some challenges I did not have to face at HUD. I'm hoping to help define EA as a bridge between planning and implementation.'

Bully pulpit

Burk added he wants to use his new position at OMB as a 'bully pulpit' to spread the benefits of enterprise architecture to incoming federal managers and political appointees.

'Agencies have to understand EA can't just be a check mark that OMB wants,' he said. 'This is a great opportunity to reach out to the business people and articulate the role of EA.'

Besides championing EA, Burk will manage the Federal EA Program Management Office to update the Federal Enterprise Architecture reference models and work with the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee.

'Some parts of the reference models need to be looked at,' he said. 'The Business Reference Model and the Performance Reference Model is where I think we should start to make sure agencies are getting the most out of them.'

Burk said the business model must be robust enough to cover all business lines, and the performance model must help define the level of results agencies want their programs to achieve.

Burk joins OMB in time for the start of the fiscal 2007 budget process, for which EA tools such as the FEA Management System and all five reference models will be in place for agencies to use.

OMB had been without a chief architect since Bob Haycock left in April to return to the Interior Department's National Business Center in Denver after a two-year stint in the EA job.

During his time at HUD, Burk worked on affordable housing issues before moving into the IT field. As chief architect for IT, Burk oversaw the development and delivery of HUD's enterprise architecture, data management and strategic planning processes.

'I'm excited about the opportunity to help achieve what every architect in town is trying to do,' Burk said. 'Most people come to government to effect a change, and for me to play in an area where I can affect the entire government is pretty heady stuff.'

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