NIF Solution Description Reference Manual
NIF PPT Presentation
NIF Overview eLearning Module
The NCOIC Interoperability Framework (NIF®) provides an organizational construct for organizing the enabling guidance developed by NCOIC as well as a repository for that information. The guidance provided by NIF is intended to complement the reference architectures being developed by governments, ministries and other organizations as well as the systems engineering processes and tools resident in industry. NIF affords interoperability implementation guidance to allow firms to develop system elements/nodes interoperable with systems/nodes being developed by others.
NIF is implemented as a development framework, which helps system architects and system engineers to embed interoperability elements throughout the lifecycle of programs, beginning with requirements. Whenever possible, those resources are based upon standards.
The NIF “framework of frameworks” approach supports the creation and integration of specialized sub-frameworks for interoperable elements, recognizing that a single framework will not address every need.
Having identified the Service Concept as a key element of interoperability, NIF enforces the use of service orientation and fosters the service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach for information systems. At lower levels, services are provided as references for key infrastructure (e.g. Web services). At the upper level, services support capabilities for key mission areas (e.g. Net-Enabled Logistics, Mobile Emergency Communications Interoperability, etc.).
Having identified the Protocol Concept as another key interoperability concept, NIF provides specific guidance for protocols through the use of Protocol Functional Collections (PFCs) or patterns. PFCs provide references for specific “open standards” and implementation guidance for their use.
Enabling Guidance – NIF enabling guidance is developed through the efforts of technical teams and integrated project teams focused on addressing NCO operational scenarios.
Framework – NIF development framework houses the processes and technologies used to solve complex interoperability issues. NIF provides the skeleton upon which various objects are integrated to build a solution. The NIF framework is an integration hierarchy of specialized sub-frameworks addressing communications, information, security, system management, etc.
Service – NIF promotes the Service Concept to abstract systems from operations and technology from systems, thus enabling the renewing of systems or technologies by more recent ones without redesigning the assembly.
Pattern – NIF guidance for net-centric design relies on the concepts of patterns and protocols, resulting in PFCs.
Open Standards – Enabling guidance offered by NIF is based on open standards with attendant implementation recommendations. This guidance doesn’t necessarily imply open source.
Guidance for New and Legacy Systems -- NIF provides enabling guidance that addresses both new developments (aka “green field” initiatives) and methods to incorporate existing legacy systems such as routing or facading. It is noteworthy that legacy systems have been introduced over many years and generations of technology.
NCOIC Consensus -- NIF construct and enabling interoperability guidance are consensus views of NCOIC. Developed within NCOIC’s technical development environment, consortium checks and balance are employed to achieve public release of this information.
NIF Evolution – NIF is an evolving NCOIC deliverable. As the skill set and body of interoperability knowledge continues to expand, the NIF construct matures. The first version of NIF concentrated on interoperable communications and NIFv2 expands to address a “framework of frameworks,” including services, information assurance and semantics.
NIF Development Process -- The NIF Working Group employs a comprehensive due diligence approach as new versions of this key deliverable are contemplated. This approach centers upon the development of; NIF Scope and Problem Statement that defines the scope and problem for the development of successive versions of NIF; NIF Solution Deliverable, a user’s manual and reference guide; and NIF Approach and Rationale, the rationale for the selected approaches and a summary of alternatives considered.
Building Codes vs. Building Blocks -- NIF has been described as a “building code,” using a civil engineering metaphor. NIF functions as a building code by providing enabling guidance for systems architects and systems engineers as they consider designs to overcome network-centric operations interoperability challenges. A related NCOIC endeavor, known as “Building Blocks,” provides a catalog of Commercially Off the Shelf (COTS) and Government Off the Shelf (GOTS) components and systems consistent with the implementation of NIF-enabling guidance.