Feds Eye XML, Web Services

The federal government will use XML and Web services to integrate disparate systems and is developing an overall architecture to support interoperability based on XML.

BALTIMORE—The federal government is looking at XML and Web services as a key technology for integrating disparate systems and is developing an overall architecture to support interoperability based on XML.

Robert Haycock, manager of the Office of Management and Budgets E-Gov Office, called XML and Web services the "keys to the palace." He said, "We have so many legacy applications that Web services will help us to … provide interoperability amongst and between these systems. "

In addition, Haycock said, "Web services can assist in streamlining and connecting multiple business lines across the federal government."

Haycock delivered a keynote speech at the XML 2002 Conference and Exposition here Tuesday.

Using XML and Web services, "we believe we are going to participate in a major transformation in the way the federal government does business and communicates with citizens," Haycock said.

Haycock said the OMB is developing the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), a business-based framework for governmentwide improvement and interoperability between systems in various government agencies. XML lies at the heart of the FEA, he said.

The FEA is being developed through a series of five interrelated reference models designed for cross-agency integration of systems and reuse of technology and components.

The FEAs Business Reference Model is out now, the Performance Reference Model will soon be out, and the three other reference models—the Service Component Reference Model, the Technology Reference Model and the Data and Information Reference Model—will be released by spring, Haycock said.

The FEA will provide a business and technology framework for the 24 Presidential Management E-Gov initiatives and help align federal IT investments within the presidents management agenda, Haycock said.

Haycock called XML and Web services "game changing" technologies that will facilitate horizontal and vertical information sharing and will provide an underlying framework for delivering services.

Immediate uses for the FEA and the XML and Web services technology include integrating systems to support homeland security, disaster management, trade and financial management, among other applications, Haycock said.