History, Principles & Authority

Early in 2003 the ET.gov site and process were commissioned by John Gilligan, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and Norm Lorentz, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), who co-chaired the CIO Council's (CIOC) Architecture and Infrastructure Committee (AIC) when the project was initiated. The status of the process and components identified within it were routinely discussed at the monthly meetings of the XML Community of Practice (xmlCoP) and briefly reported at the monthly meetings of the AIC. Discussions in the xmlCoP are documented to some degree in the notes from each meeting.

Among the principles observed in developing the site were the following:
  1. conformance to a standards-compliant, service-oriented, component-based architecture;
  2. avoidance of building yet another so-called "one-stop portal" that is in fact yet another stovepipe application that cannot readily share information with other sites and applications;
  3. adherence to Raines' Rule number 7, with respect to the development of IT systems in relatively small "chunks,"  each of which adds value in and of itself without needless dependencies on other components; and
  4. making reality speak more clearly for itself in terms of the interests of .gov agencies in emerging technologies and their willingness to work together to foster consideration of such technologies.
For example, Stage 1 of the ET.gov site was capable of standing on its own even if resources were not provided to develop subsequent stages of the process, and anyone could readily access, index, and reuse data supplied for Stage 1 -- since such data was posted in valid XML instance documents on the public Web.  To make it very easy for others to provide value-additive services, we provided a listing of the URLs for each of those documents.

However, reality could have spoken more clearly for itself if Stage 2 could have been built out to make it very easy for government folks to subscribe to, participate in, and commit resources to communities of practice (CoPs) forming around ET components and specifications.  If agencies are unwilling or unable to do so, that is a reality that speaks for itself and we should stop kidding ourselves and the American taxpayers about it.  Likewise, if Congress refuses to fund interagency projects, that too is a reality that should be clearly recognized.

The history and authority for the ET.gov site and process are further documented in the following records, in reverse chronological order:
Click here to search the xml.fido.gov site for more information on the ET.gov site and process, here for references to ET.gov on USA.gov, and here for sites on the Web that have linked to ET.gov. Google deems these links to be "similar" to ET.gov and identifies these links as containing the term "ET.gov".
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