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CHIPS Articles: Department of the Navy Architecture Federation Pilot

Department of the Navy Architecture Federation Pilot
By Brant Frey - July-September 2008
The Defense Department recognized that the current approach of attempting to develop monolithic integrated architectures has not worked well. Consequently, DoD has developed a concept of architecture federation...

The Defense Department knows that the structured analysis associated with architectures is essential to transform its platform-centric environment to a net-centric environment. This change will eliminate silos of data and information, thus making information visible and accessible to all authorized users.

However, the DoD recognized that the current approach of attempting to develop monolithic integrated architectures has not worked well. Consequently, DoD has developed a concept of architecture federation.

The Architecture and Interoperability Directorate of the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (ASD(NII)/DoD CIO) published the Global Information Grid (GIG) Architecture Federation Strategy version 1.2 in August 2007 (available on the Department of the Navy CIO Web site; search for Enterprise Architecture). It outlines the basic concepts and principles underlying architecture federation.

The DoD strategy has been kept at a high-level to allow each service to develop a tailored implementation plan. Allowing each component to tailor an implementation plan is consistent with the spirit of the federation approach. It endeavors to provide a minimum set of rules and standards from the higher echelons within the DoD while allowing maximum flexibility at subordinate echelons.

This article outlines a portion of the DON's implementation of the DoD federation strategy. It approaches DON architecture federation from the perspective of developing a repeatable process that, when applied to any number of architectures, produces a consistent result. The DON EA Federation Pilot Report 1.0, scheduled for release this summer, will outline processes, essential inputs to these processes, expected outcomes, and the rules required to achieve consistent success.

Architecture federation serves in part as a process for relating or aligning subordinate and parent architectures via the mapping of common architecture information. At the same time, federation provides an organizing construct that allows uniqueness and autonomy throughout the enterprise. These aligned architectures are subsequently located and linked through an architecture management service, allowing consistent search and discovery.

This alignment and discovery provide critical insight into the enterprise, improving interoperability and reducing overlaps and gaps. The ability to maintain line-of-sight for strategic missions and goals to the systems that instantiate those objectives is achieved. This enhances not only the ability to view duplicative or overlapping systems, but also the ability to identify those systems that need to be developed to fulfill a desired capability gap.

The DON views architecture federation as consisting of five central elements that govern the process and the methodology of federation: tiered accountability, categorization, semantic alignment, reference architectures, and search and discovery, as illustrated in Figure 1. Together these elements provide the framework for effective federation of DON architectures.

Architecture federation techniques recognize that the responsibility for architecture development is shared at several echelons or what the DoD federation strategy calls tiers. Tiered accountability establishes a hierarchy of architectures whereby subordinate architectures inherit characteristics from the higher level architectures in a parent-child relationship. The basic concept behind tiered accountability is to architect down to a minimum amount of detail at each tier to establish clear touch points between the tiers. This concept is shown in Figure 2.

To deal with the complexity and diversity of the enterprise, this concept sets the stage for dividing the enterprise into manageable components. These components can be described and documented by the communities that are most closely associated with them using a set of standard rules and practices.

Ideally, only a small set of rules, common terms and standards are inherited from the parent architectures to maintain consistency throughout the enterprise and effective high-level guidance from each higher tier.

The DON’s federation process provides a method for linking or aligning subordinate and parent architectures via the mapping of common architectural information. This concept advocates subordinate architecture alignment to the parent architecture. For alignment, the operational activity model (OV-5) node tree, which describes the activities that are normally conducted in the course of achieving a mission, capability or a business goal, serves as the basis for federation and acts as a reliable touch point between architectures.

This is based on the belief that activities are of an enduring nature. Capabilities will change over time as will the processes and systems that instantiate those capabilities. As activities are aligned throughout the enterprise to a tiered taxonomy, the ability to trace capability development in systems can be effectively realized.

The subsequent ability to direct, change, challenge or administer architecture development is guided from above rather than below. Consistent with the idea of tiered accountability, a series of DON level reference architectures and DON mission-level reference architectures (detailed in Figure 3), which are effectively aligned to high-level capabilities, can serve as the parent taxonomies for program architectures to utilize.

The semantic alignment of activities to a parent or reference architecture is achieved by using a four-part grading system that qualifies the strength of the relationship between activities. These mapping relationships are qualified as equivalent to, part of, similar to, or no relationship.

The activities and the relationships are then captured in a federation tool called the Federation Log. To facilitate both search and discovery, the process developed will leverage this consistent methodology to capture the taxonomy output of the federation process.

The “FedLog” is a standard means of capturing the output of the federation process while offering a searchable and discoverable document that will facilitate reuse of the federation effort and serve as an architecture analysis and quality control tool.

Any successful federation effort is dependent upon making architecture artifacts visible and accessible to analysts, planners and decision makers at all levels. As part of the DON federation strategy, there is a focus on making the products accessible and visible through the use of GIG Architecture Enterprise Services.

The GAES would work in conjunction with other DON repositories such as the Naval Architecture Repository System (NARS) and the Systems Command Architecture Development and Integration Environment (SADIE) to provide a search and discovery service that would allow an authorized user access to relevant architecture products.

Employing an architecture service alleviates the need for the DoD to create a single massive repository. Instead, architectures can be registered in the DoD Architecture Registry System (DARS), indicating that their products are contained within service-level repositories.

Using a federation approach, the DON expects to achieve the following results:
• Decompose the DON enterprise into logical mission segments based on traditional mission areas, horizontal tiers and the echelon level at which the architecture must exist;
• Demonstrate clear program alignment with mission architectures, as well as alignment with the DoD-level architectures;
• Use the federation techniques to identify gaps and overlaps in existing architectures;
• Provide a basis for each program to demonstrate how it contributes to naval and joint missions;
• Identify strengths in current systems and their contribution to required naval capabilities;
• Leverage existing architecture investments and reuse the artifacts as a starting point for creation of the larger federation;
• Increase insight into the interactions and dependencies among DoD/DON missions, organizations and systems;
• Improve architecture information sharing;
•Improve investment decisions; and
•Establish enterprise boundaries.

The federation process and model were tested through a pilot program using both a Navy command and control architecture and a Marine Corps logistics architecture that aligned to both the Business Enterprise Architecture and the Warfighter Mission Architecture.

The federation process is independent of any particular enterprise hierarchy but will work as long as a defined tiered structure and a tiered accountability construct are established.

In April 2008, the Booz Allen Hamilton team working with the DON CIO was presented with a Department of Defense Enterprise Architecture Achievement award — a first from the DoD. The award recognized significant contributions in advancing enterprise architecture for the DoD.

Brant Frey provides support to the DON CIO Enterprise Architecture team.

Web links:
DON CIO – www.doncio.navy.mil
ASD(NII)/DoD CIO – www. defenselink.mil/cio-nii/

Figure 1. Process and methodology of federation.
Figure 1

Figure 2.  Tiered accountability.
Figure 2.

Figure 3. DON level reference architectures and DON mission-level reference architectures.
Figure 3.
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