DoD adopts NIEM, will no longer support UCore development

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Following an Oct. 16 meeting with the intelligence community's Information Sharing Environment program office, the Defense Department is drafting a memo specifying the National Information Exchange Model as the basis for its data exchange strategy.

According to a meeting summary provided on condition of the sender's anonymity, the Defense Department office of the chief information officer no longer supports further development of UCore as a DoD-unique data exchange model.

The summary states that NIEM and UCore are not being converged. "You join or adopt NIEM, you do not converge with NIEM," it says. As a result, the DoD will adopt a data exchange strategy in which NIEM "will be considered first and used where practical."

UCore is an XML-based schema for situational awareness data developed by the federal government and military. NIEM, too, is an XML schema, but began as a grassroots project by federal, state and local governments, and its adoption has been more widespread among federal agencies. Its governance model minimizes top-down mandates in favor of permitting communities of interest to control for themselves standards for non-overlapping data elements. Existing NIEM communities of interest include maritime, law enforcement, and infrastructure protection.

According to the summary, the DoD OCIO will promulgate by Nov. 15 a memo with guidance for using NIEM as a DoD-wide data exchange method and will by Nov. 30 develop a list of existing UCore usage policies that will require modification or cancelation.

The NIEM governance model is such that "DoD will govern its DoD-managed domains," it also says, stating that the department will create a NIEM command and control/warfighter data exchange domain.

The summary states that attendees agreed the DoD IT Standards Committee or the Defense IT Standards Registry "may not be the appropriate body and process" to lead creation of the new domains, and that the Metadata Registry "may be a better fit."

The NIEM program office--which resides within the Homeland Security Department--is currently at work on version 3.0 of the data exchange model with a tentative delivery date set for fall 2013. The new version "addresses model harmonization, core refactoring, incorporation of domain updates, and other architectural enhancements," the NIEM PMO says.

For more:
- go to the NIEM PMO website

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