A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architecture, Version 1.0 (Extended by GAO-03-584G)

Published: Feb 2, 2001. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 2001.

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This publication is extended by GAO-03-584G A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 1.1), April 2003. In August 2010, GAO issued GAO-10-846G Organizational Transformation: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 2.0).


Reflecting the general consensus in industry that large, complex systems development and acquisition efforts should be guided by explicit EAs, Congress required Federal Agency Chief Information Officers to develop, maintain, and facilitate integrated systems architectures with the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Actin 1996. Additionally, OMB has issued guidance that requires agency information systems investments to be consistent with Federal, Agency, and bureau architectures. Other OMB guidance provides for the content of Agency enterprise architectures. Similarly, the Chief Information Officer Council, the Department of the Treasury, the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST), and GAO, have developed architecture frameworks or models that define the content of enterprise architectures.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Federal Agencies in initiating, developing, using, and maintaining an enterprise architecture (EA). This guide offers an end-to-end process to initiate, implement, and sustain an EA program, and describes the necessary roles and associated responsibilities for a successful EA program.

This guide focuses on EA processes, products, and roles and responsibilities. While this guide addresses the enterprise life cycle, it describes in detail how the EA processes relate to enterprise engineering, program management, and capital planning and investment control (CPIC) processes.


The processes described in this guide represent fundamental principles of good EA management. Since the guide is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, Agencies or organizations should adapt its recommendations and steps to fit their individual needs. We encourage you to consider these EA processes and best practices carefully before pursuing other approaches.

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