Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF)

Executive Order 13011 (1966), “Federal Information Technology,” created the CIO Council as the chief interagency entity responsible for the design, and sharing of Federal information resources (“Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework Version 1.1”., 1999). Subsequently, the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) was promulgated by the US Federal CIO Council in response to a mandate of the Clinger-Cohen Act (1996). As with other business entities attempting to manage large, complex projects, the Federal government required a framework to facilitate integrated sharing of Federal information resources.

In the Framework were eight components: architecture drivers, strategic direction, current architecture, target architecture, transitional processes, architectural segments, architectural models, and standards. The strategic direction guides the agency target architecture and vision. The architectural model delineates the business, data, applications, and technology architectures. Of note, it bears pointing out that the models are strongly based on the Zachman Framework, indeed Zachman includes a brief description of what should be included in the FEAF models (Hagan, (2004).

However, FEAF also made reference to the Spewak text Enterprise Architecture Planning (1993) for guidance with processes in its’ development. Though FEAF at the time lacked specific product direction to aid agencies in deploying EA, it was extensively adopted by civilian agencies for development of agency EAs, albeit as guidance only, and was not mandatory upon the agencies to comply with (Hagan, (2004).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Program Management Office (FEA-PMO) describes the FEA as a business and performance-based framework for cross agency, government-wide improvement. Its purpose is to identify opportunities to simplify processes, re-use Federal IT investments, and unify work across the agencies and within the lines of business of the Federal Government (SRM, 2003). This will result in eliminating waste and duplication, increase shared services, close performance gaps, and promote engagement among government, industry, and citizens (“The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture”, 2012).

Studies by OMB and the General Accounting Office (GAO) have indicated that without a complete and enforced EA, agencies run the risk of buying and building systems that are duplicative, incompatible, and unnecessarily costly (“A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architecture”, 2001). Yet, when implemented correctly, an EA may promote agility and responsiveness and clarify the interdependencies and relationships among an organization’s diverse mission and mission-support operations and information needs, including its associated IT environment (Hite et al., 2010).