SAP Logo LeanIX is now part of SAP

DoDAF: The US DoD's Enterprise Architecture Framework

Posted by Neil Sheppard on February 26, 2024
DoDAF: The US DoD's Enterprise Architecture Framework

Did you know that the US Department Of Defense has its own enterprise architecture framework? Discover the methodology behind the US Department of Defense Architecture Framework.

As enterprise architects, we've all heard of the Gartner TIME methodology, the '6 Rs' of cloud migration, and The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) standard. Did you know, however, that the US Department of Defense (DoD) has their own architecture framework?

While the DoD may not be an enterprise, this insight into the methodology of an organization with 3.4 million employees across over 4,800 sites in more than 160 Countries is a fascinating case study. Let's look more closely at the principles of the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) and see what learnings you can take away for your own architecture.

In the meantime, you can empower your technology transformations with our enterprise architecture management platform. To find out what LeanIX can do for you, book a demo:

Request demo

What Is DoDAF?

The US Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is a template structure by which an organization can set up optimal processes to align its technology with its strategic goals. Currently in its second version, the Department of Defense (DoD) describes DoDAF as:

"The overarching, comprehensive framework and conceptual model enabling the development of architectures to facilitate the ability of DoD managers at all levels to make key decisions more effectively through organized information sharing across the department."

DoDAF 2.0

The DoD sees its managers as the prescribed creators of the necessary processes that the DoD needs to carry out to protect the USA. Each DoD manager is therefore a process owner, responsible for co-ordinating a team to develop architecture to support the process they've been allocated.

DoDAF is a methodology for developing that architecture and also a standard that the DoD managers are expected to meet. By standardizing architecture across all DoD processes, DoD information, architecture artifacts, models, and viewpoints can be shared across teams easily.

The V2 DoDAF standard focuses on architectural data, whereas previous versions focused on products. DoDAF now prescribes a specific data capture methodology and a meta-model for how you store that data.

Making Your Data Model Fit For Purpose

The primary goal of the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is to make your data fit for purpose. That means understanding the needs of each process, so that you can gather the important data and model it in a way that supports your work.

This is why the architecture for each process is determined by the manager of that process, as the one who best understands it. DoDAF recommends each manager is supported by a lead architect for their process, which would be an enterprise architect in the corresponding business version of this model.

Rather than gathering huge amounts of unformatted and likely unneeded data, you can, therefore, ensure that the data you're storing is useful for all the different functions that are leveraging each application. Using this method, you can apply the same standard of data across a huge variety of business functions.

This data then needs to be modeled, so that it can be shared with a variety of stakeholders in a format that offers them clarity and utility. Models can be documents, spreadsheets, or diagrams, but are preferably live dashboards held in a designated system like the LeanIX platform.

A Certain Point Of View

The Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) refers to its dashboard data models as "views". To ensure your stakeholders are able to absorb the data, you should collect a relevant set of views for them into what DoDAF calls a "viewpoint".

The recommended viewpoints described by DoDAF include:

  • All Viewpoint - an overview of your entire architecture for general use
  • Capability Viewpoint - relevant data for capability managers
  • Data and Information Viewpoint - data relevant for operational and business information requirements
  • Operational Viewpoint - documentation for the processes and resource flow necessary for operations
  • Project Viewpoint - dedicated views for projects and initiatives within your organization
  • Services Viewpoint - information describing how the internal services your organization offers are supported by capabilities and operations
  • Standards Viewpoint - the set of rules governing the arrangement, interaction, and interdependence of the architectural description
  • Systems Viewpoint
- the systems and interconnections that support functions

To be clear, "systems" here doesn't mean your IT components, software and hardware. Under the new DoDAF, "systems" refers to both the human and machine components used in processes.

For the Department of Defense (DoD), these components include:

  • hardware
  • software
  • aircraft
  • vessels
  • personnel

These viewpoints inform the different stakeholders for processes across the organization. However, DoDAF specifically doesn't prescribe what form your viewpoints need to take.

Under DoDAF, you can offer your stakeholders and yourselves whatever visualization of your data is most effective for your use case. This offers tremendous flexibility, while still maintaining a set format and quality of your data.

The Six Core Processes DoDAF Seeks To Support

The reason the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is focused on aligning your data to support each team in their capabilities is so that they can work in synergy. Working together, all the functions of the Department of Defense (DoD) can support six core strategic priorities for the organization.

1 Joint Capability Integration and Development System

Key to the DoD's architecture is the empowerment of local change management processes. Put simply, they want to ensure that their people have exactly the right technology that they need to do their jobs effectively.

This means both that each team may need a unique toolset for their particular process and also that there needs to be some oversight and economies of scale in place to ensure this doesn't get out of hand. This is why DoD's Joint Capability Integration and Development System (JCIDS) is designed to monitor and maintain oversight over technology use, but also to empower teams to meet their own local needs.

JCIDS achieves this by providing documentation and standards for local architecture decisions, but also giving freedom to local managers to work within those guidelines. This again ensures uniformity and freedom of action.

2 Defense Acquisition System

The DoD's Defense Acquisition System (DAS) is a system for managing the DoD's expenditure on technology. Its guiding principles are to ensure support for the National Security Strategy, while being mindful of the investment that the public are making into the organization.

DAS ensures there are guidelines and restrictions in place for technology expenditure. It also maintains a road map for technology development to ensure that the restrictions aren't blocking innovation.

This is far easier when architectural processes and data comply with a standard. This ensures datapoints can be viewed and compared from a high level.

3 Systems Engineering

Systems engineering that balances performance against cost is an inherent requirement for all the processes carried out by the DoD. Program managers are required to create a systems engineering plan to document all their activities, resources, measures, and incentives.

Plans should illustrate an orderly progression through each level of development using controlled baselines. They should cover systems, subsystems, and system components, as well as the supporting systems used for the production, operation, training, support, and disposal of the system.

Architectural documents will support this by having a uniform structure that can make insights into the systems easy to surface. This will highlight specific requirements, interfaces, or design solutions that aren't optimal, and potential changes that could increase system-wide performance, achieve cost savings, or meet scheduling deadlines.

4 Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution

The Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process allocates resources within the DoD and establishes a framework and process for decision-making on future programs. This ensures that the DoD's technology capabilities will be in a position to support its future strategic goals.

JCIDS is vital for this process. Aligning the processes is easier, however, due to the architectural standard that exists across diverse touchpoints. 

5 Portfolio Management

The DoD's IT investments are managed as portfolios to ensure oversight and return on investment. Architecture plans are vital for ensuring that these portfolios are focused on supporting capabilities.

Portfolio management at the DoD is focused on supporting its vision, empowering its personnel with the capabilities they need, and maximizing return on investment. Architectural support is vital for achieving all these goals.

6 Operations

It's common to treat operations as architecture, but DoDAF sees stable and repeatable operations as processes in themselves. Some may even be included in the architectural description and supported by templates, checklists, and artifacts.

JCIDS, PPBE, and DAS form a knowledge-based approach to operations supplying program managers with the right data at critical junctures to make informed decisions. The process is also iterative, with results being fed back into the system to guide future decisions.

What We Can Learn From DoDAF

Enterprise and military logistics are two very different industries, but IT architecture for both is a process of empowering your operations with effective digital tools. The central values of the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) are ones that we can apply to enterprise architecture:

  • Have the teams that are working with your processes design their architecture
  • Be data-driven, but make your data fit for purpose
  • Provide appropriate viewpoints on data for your stakeholders
  • Ensure your architecture supports your key capabilities
  • Feed your results back into your architecture repository for iterative improvement

Thankfully, the LeanIX platform already supports all of these processes with its existing capabilities. Our best-practice meta-model has many similar common-sense features to those in the DoDAF meta-model.

Our platform can be viewed by anyone in your organization so that all your teams can access the information they need to optimize their own architecture. That way, you can leverage their expertise in their own work to ensure the data held in the comprehensive LeanIX repository empowers them to iterate on their architecture.

LeanIX also helps you visualize that data in context for your stakeholders, so that you can establish unique dashboards to support each type of stakeholder. We'll also give you the ability to map your architecture information against your business capabilities so that you can identify which parts of your architecture are mission-critical.

Lastly, we also support you with ongoing tracking of your architecture to road map iterative improvement and track your success. This is vital for maintaining your agility in an ever-changing market.

To find out more about how LeanIX can support your enterprise architecture efforts, both in learning from DoDAF and otherwise, book a demo.

Request demo

Subscribe to the LeanIX Blog and never miss a post again!

Related Posts