- About National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)
- National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Component Mapping
- Principal References
On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and their associated domains announced the first release of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Version 0.1. NIEM "establishes a single standard XML foundation for exchanging information between DHS, DOJ, and supporting domains, such as Justice, Emergency Management, and Intelligence."
NIEM is a U.S. interagency initiative created to "provide the foundation and building blocks for national-level interoperable information sharing and data exchange. The NIEM project was formally announced on February 28, 2005, constituted as a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), with outreach to other departments and agencies. NIEM establishes a single standard XML foundation for exchanging information between DHS, DOJ, and supporting domains such as Justice, Emergency Management, and Intelligence."
The NIEM 0.1 release contains a collection of fifty-four (54) XML schemas and a Component Mapping Template for use by reviewers. Based in part upon the Global Justice XML Data Model (Global JXDM), NIEM 0.1 defines 250 types, of which 54 are Universal, 107 are Common, and 89 are Domain Specific. It also defines 2213 Properties, of which 273 are classified as Universal, 943 are Common, and 997 are Domain Specific.
The NIEM Core collection of namespace includes a Universal namespace that holds components and properties utilized across all domains, and a Common namespace for components and properties that could be utilized by a minimum of two domains. The NIEM model also includes a Structure namespace for components and properties that identify functional relationships between information components.
NIEM assigns a separate namespace for each of the current domains (justice, emergency-management, intelligence) within the Domain-Specific section. "Each of these Domain-Specific namespaces capture components and elements that are utilized only within that single domain. As more domains participate in the use of the NIEM, more Domain-Specific namespaces will be added. As more domains identify sharable components, components will migrate up to the Common namespace, and as domains identify components as being utilized by all, the components will move into the Universal namespace. Each Domain-Specific namespace is also capable of inheriting the component properties from the Common and Universal namespaces."
Naming conventions for XML components in the Schemas follow the major published Naming and Design (NDR) specifications: use of UpperCamelCase for XML types and elements, but lowerCamelCase for attribute names.
The NIEM Project Management Office (PMO) was established by DHS and DOJ and directed to establish the standard, beginning with analysis and extensive research to identify the core components that would make up NIEM. "Led by Michael Daconta, Metadata Program Manager, DHS, and James Feagans, NIEM Program Manager, DOJ, the NIEM PMO has worked hand in hand with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and DOJ's Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative's (Global) Justice Extensible Markup Language (XML) Structure Task Force (Global XSTF). The result of these efforts is NIEM Verison 0.1."
The base technology for the NIEM is the Global JXDM, which has robust framework but is "a large, complex, monolithic schema with no reusable modular core components; it is a limited exchange model with no reusable exchange packages. Global JXDM consists of a well-defined and organized vocabulary of 2,754 reusable components out of which there are 400 Complex Types, 150 Simple Types, and 2,209 Properties that facilitate the exchange and reuse of information from multiple sources and multiple applications."
The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) was designed to leverage the benefits of Global JXDM by facilitating growth of the data model through harmonization of new data components. While maintaining compatibility with Global JXDM, NIEM facilitates the discovery of reusable data components and assembly of exchange packages.
The initial NIEM Version 0.1 release is intended to "introduce NIEM to the broad NIEM stakeholder community within government and industry and to provide the NIEM model and schemas as a base for creating exchange messages for the initial pilot projects that will validate and augment the standard. The review process will allow information technology and standards experts and users to provide feedback on the standard, and to begin identification of additional Universal, Common, and Domain-Specific components that could be added to future versions of the standard."
Release notes for NIEM Version 0.1 make it emphatically clear that the initial model with its supporting schemas and documentation are "not intended to be used as a foundation for establishing production system exchange messaging or as the final rules governing conformance. The NIEM 1.0, scheduled for release by June 1, 2006, will be the official version for widespread production system use and conformity standards."
By the end of 2005, according to the NIEM Project Management Office (PMO), "a number of major deliverables and tasks will be completed regarding the governance and use of the NIEM standard, including (1) release of NIEM 0.2, based on the initial analysis and feedback of NIEM 0.1 by NIEM stakeholders, including pilots and their domains; (2) release of the initial Naming and Design Rules (NDR) specification; (3) release of the initial Concept of Operations (CONOPS) document; (4) reconstitution of the PMO to meet the needs of the process and vetting of the standard; (5) release of the NIEM Subschema Generator Tool, Code Configuration Tool, and Wantlist Registration Tool."
A news story from Government Computer News quotes Michael Daconta (metadata program manager for the Homeland Security Department) as encouraging agencies to have their IT staff examine this draft to see if they "can build a message from these specifications." The model is designed for information exchange, but Daconta "recommended that even if an agency is developing a new internal schema, it should look into using as many of the elements as possible, because the agency may not know whether it will need to share that information in the future."