FEA Definitions

The definitions listed below are historical; for current definitions, see the Common Approach Definitions.


Enterprise Architecture (EA) is

the explicit description and documentation of the current and desired relationships among business and management processes and information technology of an organization. It describes the “current architecture” and “target architecture” to include the rules and standards and systems life cycle information to optimize and maintain the environment which the agency wishes to create and maintain by managing its IT portfolio. The EA must also provide a strategy to enable the agency to support its current state and also act as the roadmap for transition to its target environment. The EA will define principles and goals and set direction on such issues as the promotion of interoperability, open systems, public access, end user satisfaction, and IT security. The agency must support the EA with a complete inventory of agency information resources, including personnel, equipment, and funds devoted to information resources management and information technology, at an appropriate level of detail.

Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) is

a business-based documentation and analysis framework for government-wide improvement. The FEA allows agencies to use standardized methods to describe the relationship between an agency’s strategic goals, business functions, and enabling technologies at various levels of scope and complexity. The FEA is comprised of documentation in six domain areas (strategic goals, business services, data and information, systems and applications, infrastructure, and security) and six reference models areas that are designed to facilitate standardized analysis, reporting, and the identification of duplicative investments, gaps, and opportunities for collaboration within and across federal agencies. More information about the FEA and reference models is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/e-gov/fea.

Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM) is

to become the “Federal Solution Architecture Methodology” in October 2011 and will serve as a scalable and repeatable process for solution architecture at the application, system, segment, enterprise, sector, government-wide, national, and international levels of scope. Consistent use of the FSAM should result in more complete and consistent architecture products by helping architects engage system owners, program offices, and executive sponsors to deliver value-added plans for improved mission delivery. Specifically, FSAM includes guidance to help architects establish clear relationships among strategic goals, detailed business / information management requirements, and measurable performance improvements within each area of the agency’s enterprise architecture.

Solution Architecture is

a standardized method of identifying business requirements and viable technology solutions within the context of a single agency’s enterprise architecture, or a multi-agency sector or governmentwide/international architecture. Solution architecture includes current and future views as well as transition plans at a number of levels of scope that include applications, systems, segments, enterprise, sector, government-wide, national, and international. The Federal Solution Architecture Methodology (FSAM) is scheduled for release in October 2011 to provide the repeatable process for doing solution architecture.


FY13 Guidance for Exhibit 300 A-B: GUIDANCE ON EXHIBIT 300—PLANNING, BUDGETING, ACQUISITION, AND MANAGEMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAPITAL ASSETS” provides budget justification and reporting requirements for major IT investments.

FY13 Guidance for Exhibit 53 A-B: “GUIDANCE ON EXHIBIT 53—INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND E-GOVERNMENT” provides reporting requirements for an agency’s IT Investment Portfolio.


1 thought on “FEA Definitions”

  1. My opinion only:

    The common approach contains several errors. One is assigning FSAM to solution architecture. FSAM was developed to support a middle level called “segment architecture”. See OMB Practice Guidance, 2008, Burk.

    The US Fed Gov never got FSAM or segment architecture quite right. IMO it is about supply chain, customers, markets and distribution, also value chain. I believe Fed Gov failed because they understand these poorly.

    I believe FEA would be MUCH STRONGER if it adopted the 5 activities model described here: http://www.unauthorizedprogress.com/images/EA_as_5_activities_2014.pdf

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