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CHIPS Articles: DON Enterprise Architecture Development Supports Naval Transformation

DON Enterprise Architecture Development Supports Naval Transformation
By Victor Ecarma - January-March 2009

Federally mandated enterprise architectures (EA) are a strategically-based means for the departments of Defense and the Navy (DON) to capitalize on their vast technological assets and make sound decisions about investments in new technology that will support the warfighter.

The DON is a complex organization with disparate architecture development efforts and finite resources. Effective, cross-departmental decision making in today's environment relies upon information technology as a fundamental enabler, yet the DON information infrastructure is quite complex and subject to continual change. Herein lies the requirement for a DON EA that would create the framework for effective, real-time, decision making and policy implementation across multiple DON departments. The DON EA's success is dependent upon its relevance and value to DON decision makers.

As the chief architect, the DON Chief Information Officer (CIO) is leading the effort to design and develop a single DON EA, using a strategy that federates with external partners and incorporates an integrated, coordinated, flexible and long-term strategically focused approach. The DON EA describes the processes, information flows, solutions, data descriptions, technical infrastructure and standards that are integrated to achieve current and future DON strategic goals and objectives.

The DON EA assists decision makers in the execution of major decision processes such as the Defense Acquisition System, Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution, and the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System.

The creation and implementation of a DON EA will support naval transformation in delivering value by:

• Creating IT Agility. Create the foundation for planning future capabilities and adapting to changing environments.
• Reducing Complexity. Minimize duplication of technology in the infrastructure by consolidating products and tools providing similar functionality. Enable Information Technology/National Security Systems (IT/NSS) to consolidate expertise around fewer technologies.
• Lowering Operational Costs. Reduce the cost of business operations by optimizing IT/NSS acquisition, support, maintenance and training costs. Enable reusability and drive standard technologies.
• Enhancing Portfolio Management. Eliminate duplicative investments; re-prioritize investments — invest once — use many.

EA Strategy: External Federation and Internal Integration

Since the release of the Global Information Grid (GIG) Federation Strategy in August 2007, the DON CIO has tailored the federated approach in developing and managing the DON EA. The DON EA will federate with DoD and other external partners.

Federation is defined as "a process for relating disparate architectures that allows for uniqueness and autonomy while maintaining line-of-sight to strategic objectives. This process focuses on aligning architecture to a high-level taxonomy. The aligned architectures and their architecture information are then located and linked via the employment of an architecture management service using a standard set of metadata to allow for consistent search and discovery."

Federation techniques allow disparate architectures to be meaningfully related and permit acceleration of new architecture efforts across the DoD community to support decision makers.

The DON EA provides an integrated approach that uses common architecture descriptions and data elements across all architecture products and views. An architecture is considered an integrated architecture when models and their constituent architectural data elements are developed such that architecture data elements defined in one view are the same (i.e., same names, definitions and values) as architecture data elements referenced in models in another view. For more information, refer to DoD Architecture Framework (DoDAF) version 1.5.

To enable this integrated approach, the DON CIO, in collaboration with DON Deputy CIO (Navy), DON Deputy CIO (Marine Corps), and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN(RDA)) Chief Systems Engineer (CHSENG), is developing the following:
-- DON EA Hierarchy – a structure based on the Joint Staff-developed Joint Capability Areas (JCAs) to relate the complete set of activities occurring within the DON.
-- DON EA Governance – an overall governance structure that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities for development, review, verification and validation, approval, use and enforcement of architectures across the DON.
-- Naval Architecture Elements Reference Guide (NAERG) – standardized architectural elements, based on common terms, which form the elemental building blocks of the architecture.
-- DON EA Implementation Plan for the GIG Architecture Federation Strategy – a single set of DON-level federation rules and guidance for use by all developers of DON Segment Reference Architectures (SRAs) to federate with external partners.
-- DON EA Product Style Guide – formatting and style requirements for architecture products.
-- DON EA Project Management Plan – a schedule for developing Segment Reference Models, SRAs and supporting gover¬nance and other management processes.
-- DON EA Development Management Process – DON EA development criteria and process to manage EA development activities of DON SRAs and enterprise solutions to ensure EA efforts align to DON strategic goals and objectives.


The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework was established in response to the Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996 mandating that executive agencies develop and maintain an EA. One of the compliance criteria of the CCA requires that acquisitions are consistent with Defense Department IT policies and architectures.

To make the DON EA relevant and not “architecture for architecture’s sake,” the DON CIO, in close coordination with Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Communication Networks (OPNAV N6); Headquarters Marine Corps, Command, Control, Communications, Computers (HQMC C4); and ASN(RDA) CHSENG, is currently strengthening processes to tie investment decisions to assessments of architectural compliance making the DON EA a compliance component for IT/NSS investments through the following initiatives.

-- The DON Deputy CIO (Navy) issued the Navy Enterprise Architecture and Data Strategy April 7, 2007, which states that Navy programs, projects, systems, capabilities and investments that are not in compliance with the DON EA and Navy architectures will have their funding withheld.
-- The DON Deputy CIO (Navy) stood up the IT Management Council in May 2008 to oversee the development of Navy architectures.
-- The DON Deputy DON CIO (Marine Corps) stood up a Marine Corps Enterprise Architecture Working Group in May 2007 to provide policy and guidance to enable Marine Corps EA planning, development, use and evolution throughout the entire life cycle of the Marine Corps EA program.
-- The DON CIO is drafting a DON EA policy that will implement similar enforcement mechanisms across the DON.
-- ASN(RDA) CHSENG is using DON EA compliance as criteria during acquisition program reviews.
-- The DON CIO is in the process of developing a proactive approach to CCA certification for Major Automated Information Systems and DON IM/IT Special Interest Programs. A key component of this proactive approach will be assessment of proposed investments against the DON EA.

This policy is part of the evolving implementation of Title 40/ CCA aimed at reinvigorating oversight, maximizing up-front involvement in the IT investment process and eliminating redundancies. (Title 40 of the United States Code formerly Division E of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 for Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS) and Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP) in the Department of Defense.)

Describing the DON EA

The DON EA is a framework comprised of a Capstone Layer and a Solutions Layer as shown in Figure 1. The DON EA Capstone will be comprised of two tiers: the DON EA Reference Models and DON Segment Reference Architectures. The reference models will be based on the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) reference models and will provide the standards to which architectures are to be developed, approved and used. The Department of the Navy SRAs will define what DON missions are aligned to each Joint Capability Area.

Establishing standards before development occurs ensures interoperability and integration between distributed architectures. The Reference Models provide a framework for understanding significant entities and relationships between them within an environment.

Using the analogy of a city blueprint, an architecture blueprint is an important EA tool that creates a plan for a city’s assets. The reference architecture defines the building codes and standards. Architects use the reference architecture as a lens to understand the current state of the architecture portfolio of assets and map the architecture transition to the future state.

The FEA consists of a set of interrelated “reference models” designed to facilitate cross-agency analysis and the identification of duplicative investments, gaps and opportunities for collaboration within and across agencies. Collectively, the reference models comprise a framework for describing important elements of the FEA in a common and consistent way.

There will be six DON EA Reference Models derived from the FEA reference models that will provide the codes and standards to build the DON EA:
-- Performance Business Reference Model – Provides frameworks or standards to measure the performance of major IT investments and their contribution to program performance.
-- Business Reference Model – Provides an organized, hierarchical construct for describing day-to-day business operations.
-- Service Component Reference Model – Business and performance driven, functional framework that classifies service components with respect to how they support business and performance objectives.
-- Data Reference Model – Describes, at an aggregate level, the data and information supporting government program and business line operations.
-- Technical Reference Model – Component driven, technical framework used to categorize the standards, specifications and technologies that support and enable the delivery of service components and capabilities.
-- Security Reference Model – Provides a methodology for developing low risk enterprise information security designs and delivering security infrastructure solutions that support critical business initiatives directly from the Business Reference Model.

Within the DON EA Segment Reference Architectures, there is a hierarchy that provides a structure to relate the complete set of activities occurring within the DON. This hierarchy is intended to provide the link between the DON SRAs and program-level architectures. It does so by placing these activities in relation to the DoD EA; the Joint Staff Joint Capability Areas; the Business Transformation Agency Business Enterprise Architecture; the functional areas defined by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration; and those functional areas to be defined by the intelligence community.

In addition, the Department of the Navy SRAs will be collaboratively updated and used as a tool by DON senior leadership and Functional Area Managers to drive: (1) net-centric transformation and data sharing; (2) business transformation and process standardization; (3) investment recommendations and decisions; and (4) financial audit ability and internal controls.

The goal of the architecture design is to improve direct and indirect support to the Secretary of the Navy, Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Naval Operations, thus enhancing the DON’s ability to execute its mission.

DON EA Development Management Process

The DON EA Development Management Process aligns and synchronizes Navy and Marine Corps EA development and initiatives that contribute to the development and use of the DON EA to support naval transformation. The process will manage EA development activities within the DON EA Segment Reference Architectures and identified enterprise solution architectures; ensure EA efforts align to DON strategic goals and objectives; determine the value provided by each effort; and monitor and track progress.

The DON EA Development Management Process will enable transformation of business processes and modernize supporting IT/NSS systems to minimize overlap and maximize interoperability.

DON EA Development Management Process goals will:
-- Align non-architecture strategic goals with DON EA development initiatives;
-- Describe DON EA goals and how to determine success;
-- Capture milestones and metrics to guide improvements in business and warfighting capabilities;
-- Identify tangible benefits for each investment in naval transformation; and
-- Identify gaps where architecture efforts are needed to solve non-architecture problems and support non-architecture initiatives.

The DON EA development management and process will require EA development efforts before they are started to identify and document the value to the DON, ensure there is no duplication of effort and prioritize activities to maximize resources while producing the most benefit.

Although this process will be maintained by the DON CIO, it will be created and treated as a living document and continually revised by key stakeholders.

The DON CIO is laying the foundation for the DON EA to be relevant and sustained within the department. The DON EA will achieve the DoD’s vision of a more agile and integrated organization whose systems are aligned and synchronized.

Through incremental steps, this effort will contribute to naval transformation by shifting away from isolated stovepiped requirements development to one in which organizations understand and embrace cross-community development.

For information on the DON CIO’s DON EA development efforts, please visit the DON CIO Web site at

DON EA Capstone Layer
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