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VA Enterprise Architecture

VA EA Background

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Enterprise Architecture (VA EA) was established in accordance with the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-106) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130, “Management of Federal Information Resources,” requiring maintenance of an enterprise architecture. VA Directive 6051, "Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) Enterprise Architecture" established the Department-wide VA Enterprise Architecture. 

The Architecture and Engineering Service (AES) Team now oversees maintenance of VA EA using the following approach: 

  • Evolving and sustaining VA EA as a strategic planning and management tool 
  • Using VA EA to support and inform decisions for strategic planning, programming, budgeting, acquisition, and solution development 
  • Informing the VA business strategies and investments that ultimately sustain and improve Veteran services 

VA EA focuses on obtaining, structuring, and making visible content that describes VA’s strategies and objectives, mission and business activities, information, systems and applications, security solutions, and supporting technologies. It is based on the eight basic elements identified in the Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture that must be present in an agency EA program – governance, principles, method, tools, standards, use, reporting, and audit – and the strategic drivers that affect its content. 

The VA envisions VA EA as a mechanism for creating and housing the aggregated information on strategic, operational, and technology. The VA EA Scope illustration below provides a conceptual depiction of the breadth of information available through the VA EA. 

Architecture and Engineering Service Team

The VA Enterprise Architecture is led by the Architecture and Engineering Services (AES) Team on behalf of the Chief Information Office. The AES Team collaborates with leaders, staff and other stakeholders across the Department of Veterans Affairs to inform priorities and methodologies for VA EA management and use. The AES Team owns the overall framework for the VA EA, including standards and rules for maintenance, tools, and VA Enterprise Architecture Repositor (VEAR) data. They also ensure the integrity of VA EA products and consistent alignment to VA strategy.   

Strategic Planning

The information provided in the 2022 – 2028 VA Strategic Plan is to help VA accomplish its mission goals, priorities, and outcomes. To fulfill the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA), VA publishes a new strategic plan every four years at the beginning of each new term of an Administration. Developed using a Quadrennial Strategic Planning Process (QSPP), the VA Strategic Plan builds upon an established set of strategic goals and objectives that are key outcomes of this process. It provides direction for all programmatic and management functions such as informing VA leaders about the need for new major acquisitions, IT, human capital, and other capacity-building investments. It also provides the framework for other Agency plans such as: 

  • VHA Strategic Plan – Serves as the primary guide for planning, budgeting, performance management, and alignment across VHA components. 
  • NCA Strategic Plan – Sets forth the NCA’s vision for improving ways to honor deceased Veterans and commemorate their service to our Nation. 

Guiding Principles

All VA investments in information technology are subject to six VA Global Principles that support transformation and improve IT support for the VA mission. The VA Global Principles apply equally to the development and use of the VA EA.  

  • Mission Alignment – VA processes, information, and systems are conceived, designed, operated, and managed to address the Veteran-centric mission needs of the Department. 
  • Asset Visibility and Accessibility – VA Service, Data, and Application Assets are visible, accessible, available, understandable, and trusted by all authorized users (including unanticipated users). 
  • Data Interoperability – VA Information is made interoperable through data standardization, including the identification, designation, and utilization of authoritative sources. 
  • Infrastructure Interoperability – VA IT Infrastructure is made interoperable through definition and enforcement of standards, interface profiles, and implementation guidance. 
  • Information Security – VA provides a secure network, IT environment, and security controls for the storage and collaborative sharing of information assets (e.g., information, services) with Veterans, their families, and other partners. These include (among others) Federal agencies, third-party service providers, academia, researchers, and businesses. 
  • Enterprise Services – VA solutions are built as common services using enterprise standards where similar business use cases exist. 

Additionally, development and use of the VA Enterprise Architecture is guided by three outcome-based principles applied within an End-to-End Process: 

  • Question Based – Questions are created based on business needs with the intent that their answers will indicate that the business needs were met. Complex needs are decomposed into a hierarchy of questions that are used to plan multiple VA EA releases to meet the original needs. Entities and their relationships that drive changes to the VA EA are identified for each question. These entities can span the strategic, business, data, systems, infrastructure, and security domains. 
  • Enterprise Perspective – Through integration and federation of Administration- and Staff Office-approved data, the VA EA depicts the relationships among VA’s various parts. Entities across VA align and adhere to a common language and structure through the VA Enterprise Architecture Repository (VEAR) Logical Data Model and are related to other entities that all align to a business need. This enables business users to see their needs within the context of the larger VA and encourages reuse. 
  • Tool Agnostic – Architecture information is shareable across VA at the enterprise, segment, and solution levels independent of the modeling tools with which it was created. 

Value and Performance Measurement

The Department of Veterans Affairs is transforming through an effort to improve its support to Veterans. To achieve a level of seamless support for VA, a more efficient and better-integrated enterprise is required. The envisioned enterprise creates the alignment of strategic direction, business operations, technology and data and is methodically designed, aggregated, and managed to deliver the right information to the right people at the right place and time. 

At the core of this transformation is VA EA, which provides enterprise-level line-of-sight needed to support informed decision-making, measure value, and produce reports.  

EA Performance Goals 

  • Communicate value of EA at VA 
  • Establish foundation for EA Program improvement continuity and trends 
  • Guide and prioritize EA program improvements 
  • Add consistency and transparency in measuring EA value and improvements 

EA Performance Measures 

Architecture Engineering Service (AES) has identified five performance measures to assess and communicate the value of EA. 

Performance Measure 


Business Outcomes 


Percentage completion of current-state views 
Percentage completion of target-state views 
Percentage completion of transition plans 

Indicates the degree of completeness over time and indicates what areas need management attention and work to improve completeness. Value is difficult to deliver if the current and target are not complete. Portfolio and product line views illustrate operational concepts and performance improvement target opportunities for business owners. 


0-3 rating of currency of current-state views 

Identifies the age (by days) of the current and target state architectures and categorizes them into ratings of 0 to 3. EA can only deliver value when the architectures are current. Old architectures provide limited value to help business owners make decisions about their portfolio and product lines. 

Confidence level 

0-3 rating of confidence level of current-state views 

Identifies the level of customer confidence in and validation of the artifact. Combined with completeness and currency, this ensures that the artifact is valid to serve as a foundational view for decisions made by business owners. 

Customer Satisfaction 

Percentage satisfied with a product line deliverable. This metric is measured based on the EA Customers’ Survey responses. 

Describes the trend in customer satisfaction of EA deliverables and engagements to help determine whether AES is providing products and services of value to portfolio and product line managers. 

Maturity of Portfolio EA 

GAO EAMMF scores from 0-3 in maturity. 

This measure helps define the maturity of a portfolio. Higher levels of maturity lead to value delivery to product line stakeholders and Veterans. Provides a series of actions the product line stakeholders can take to improve maturity. 

Compliance & Standards