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NIEM 2019 Face-to-Face Annual Meetings Yield Business and Technical Progress

The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) hosted the 2019 annual NIEM meetings October 21-25. The week-long series of meetings reviewed the past year’s work and activities and laid the groundwork for the way forward. The week is structured to dedicate two-days each to the NIEM Business Architecture Committee (NBAC) and the NIEM Technical Architecture Committee (NTAC). The Executive Steering Council (ESC), NBAC and NTAC met collectively mid-week to review business and technical topics and initiatives of interest to all.

The 2019 meetings marked the first full year of NIEM stewardship by the Department of Defense. Prior to this transition, the Department of Homeland Security had been NIEM’s steward since inception. 

NIEM’s highly anticipated version 5.0 release was discussed throughout the week. This major release is scheduled for release in late 2020. In the early Fall, the NIEM 5.0 Harmonization Workgroup began. The workgroup’s purpose is to focus on Core and cross-domain harmonization, and to improve the quality and consistency of the NIEM model. NIEM domain members are being encouraged to participate in this workgroup. 

The NIEM 5.0 release will provide Core, domain, and technical updates. Based on on-going requirements planning by NIEM stakeholders, the proposed technical architecture changes being considered include:

•    NIEM information exchange specifications simplified;

•    NIEM metamodel to support the NIEM tool strategy created;

•    NIEM privacy metadata/vocabulary defined;

•    NIEM strategy for employing UML determined;

•    URIs for code list values in NIEM RDF defined;

•    Naming and Design Rules for elements with simple content relaxed;

•    Support for NIEM’s internationalization;

•    Allowance for mixed content in NIEM elements.

During this week, the NBAC established a State,Tribal and Local Tiger Team that will begin work in January to concentrate on increasing NIEM’s adoption within these organizations. Likewise, NBAC/NTAC has established a Registry Requirements Tiger Team which will focus on the development of NIEMs Information Exchange Package Documentation’s registry requirements and structure. Within NIEM’s NBAC and NTAC, Tiger Teams are typically small groups of NIEM stakeholders and subject matter experts who are focused on accelerating NIEM’s work on a specific project or initiative.

The winners of the 2019 Best of NIEM awards were announced at the combined ESC, NBAC and NTAC meeting. Established in 2009, the awards recognize outstanding NIEM solutions within federal, state, local, and tribal governments, the international community, and the private sector. The Best of NIEM 2019 was awarded to two teams:

•    The Project Management Office for the US Department of Defense Biometrics was recognized for establishing a fully NIEM conformant process and Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) in support of mission operations.

•    Program Office –Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness, Cyber Operations and Lethality Effects Integrated Product Team, US Department of Defense, was recognized for the development of a fully NIEM conformant Joint Non-Kinetic Effectiveness IEPD.

NIEM recognized the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) for an outstanding UML achievement. OBIM developed a DNA Prototype to leverage Rapid DNA capabilities, with a key objective being to adopt a NIEM conformant and standards-driven data model enabling exchange interfaces which facilitate data sharing among United States government agencies and international partners. 

About NIEM

NIEM develops, distributes, and supports large-scale, enterprise-wide information exchange specifications in a joint partnership across all levels of government, the private sector, and internationally. 

NIEM’s primary purpose is to enable the exchange of information and data at the message level across communities of interest. To maximize efficiencies, NIEM data components are openly available for use and reuse in the design, development and implementation of standard XML-based information exchange specifications.