The IDEAS Group is the International Defence Enterprise Architecture Specification for exchange Group. The deliverable of the project is a data exchange format for military Enterprise Architectures. The scope is four nation (plus
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
as observers) and covers
MODAF The British Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF) was an architecture framework The ISO/IEC/IEEE 42010 Conceptual Model of Architecture Description defines the term architecture framework as: "An architecture framework establishes ...
DoDAF The Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is an architecture framework for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) that provides visualization infrastructure for specific stakeholders concerns through viewpoints organized by ...
(USA), DNDAF (Canada) and the Australian Defence Architecture Framework (AUSDAF). The initial scope for exchange is the architectural data required to support coalition operations planning - * Systems - communications systems, networks, software applications, etc. * Communications links between systems * Information specifications - the types of information (and their security classifications) that the comms architecture will handle * Platforms & facilities. * System & operational functions (activities) * People & organizations * Architecture meta-data - who owns it, who was the architect, name, version, description, etc. The work has begun with the development of a formal ontology to specify the data exchange semantics. The
W3C The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary ...

Resource Description Framework The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a family of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specifications originally designed as a metadata data model. It has come to be used as a general method for conceptual description or modeling of information t ...
(RDF) and
Web Ontology Language The Web Ontology Language (OWL) is a family of knowledge representation Knowledge representation and reasoning (KRR, KR&R, KR²) is the field of artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence Intelligence has bee ...
(OWL) will be the format used for data exchange. A demonstration of multinational interoperability is scheduled for September 2007, based on exchanging process models for casualty tracking.

The Need for Architecture Interoperability

The need for IDEAS was identified in 2005 by the Australian, Canadian, UK & US defence departments. The main purpose of IDEAS is to support coalition military operations planning. The ability to exchange architectures between countries enables better understanding of each other's capabilities, communications mechanisms and standard procedures.

Military Application

* Sharing of standard operating procedures and doctrine. Each nation has its own operating procedures, which are usually represented in process models (e.g. a
DoDAF The Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is an architecture framework for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) that provides visualization infrastructure for specific stakeholders concerns through viewpoints organized by ...
OV-5 Product). An ability to share these processes between partner nations enables better understanding and more efficient joint operations. * Sharing of systems information. The nations generally use different communications systems, weapon systems and platforms. An ability to share technical information (within classification limits) enables better understanding of how partner nations' systems communicate and function. This allows for better orchestration of sensors and effects across the coalition. * Change management. The procurement cycles in each of the nations are generally not coordinated with each other. Ability to share future systems information amongst partner nations allows for better forward planning. * Identification of system options. In planning a coalition operation, it is useful for the planner to have an accurate picture of each nation's capability contribution. This allows for selection of best capability, and reduction in redundancy and start-up effort. * Identification of network configuration. It is important for each nation to have an understanding of the comms laydown for an operation. An ability to provide each nation with the same understanding of the comms structure means there is less re-work and less opportunity for gaps in understanding between the nations * Assessment of Relative Performance. IDEAS will enable exchange of complete
Enterprise Architecture Enterprise architecture (EA) is the most reputed discipline that: i) defines, organises, standardizes, and documents the whole architecture and all important elements of the respective organisation, covering relevant domains such as business, ...
models, potentially allowing simulation of capability prior to operational commitment. * Force Structures. Coalition nations will be able to share organisational structures and orders of battle with partners (again, subject to issues of security classification).


IDEAS is a formal, higher-order, 4D (see
four dimensionalism In philosophy, four-dimensionalism (also known as the doctrine of temporal parts) is the ontological position that an object's persistence through time is like its extension through space. Thus, an object that exists in time has temporal parts i ...
) ontology. It is extensional (see
Extension (metaphysics) In metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relati ...
), using physical existence as its criterion for identity. In practical terms, this means the ontology is well suited to managing change over time and identifying elements with a degree of precision that is not possible using names alone. The ontology is being built using the BORO Method which has proven useful for the multi-disciplinary team working on IDEAS. BORO forces the ontology developer to consider each concept in terms of its physical extent. This means there can be no argument about names or meaning - something either exists or it doesn't. The BORO Method also deals with classes and relationships by tracing them back to their members (classes) or ends (relationships).


To date, there have been three IDEAS implementations: * IDEAS Ontology Development Plug-in for
Sparx Systems Sparx Systems is an Australian software company founded by Geoffrey Sparks in 1996 in Creswick, Victoria in Australia, known for the development of the Unified Modeling Language tool Enterprise Architect (software), Enterprise Architect. Sparx S ...
Enterprise Architect Enterprise architecture (EA) is concerned with the structures and behaviors of a business, especially business roles and processes that create and use business data. It has been defined as "a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise ana ...
. The prototype was developed b
Model Futures
and is published o
* An OV-5 export interface for Telelogic System Architect. The interface was developed by Silver Bullet inc. under contract to the DoD * An OV-5 import/export interface for Sparx Enterprise Architect developed b
Model Futures
for MOD (under sub-contract to
Serco Serco Group plc is a British company with headquarters based in Hook A hook is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use b ...

Consulting) * The MOD Ontology Demonstrator - used the IDEAS model to demonstrate a simple geopolitical ontology. It can be downloaded fro
* The UK MOD AV-2 demonstrator - implemented a shared ontology based on IDEAS that is used to populate AV-2 in MODAF

IDEAS Publications & Presentations

The IDEAS work has been presented at a number of conferences. It has also been cited in a Cutter Consortium white paper and in a book on Systems Engineering from Springer VerlagTolk, Andreas; Jain, Lakhmi C. (Eds.) ''Intelligence-Based Systems Engineering''. Springer, 2011,


External links

Presentation on IDEAS
by Dave McDaniel from Integrated EA 2008 Software architecture Working groups