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Network Working Group                                      Richard Hovey
Internet Draft                             Digital Equipment Corporation
                                                           Scott Bradner
                                                      Harvard University
                                                                May 1996

        The Organizations Involved in the IETF Standards Process


Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft. Internet-Drafts are working docu-
   ments of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and
   its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute work-
   ing documents as Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This document describes the organizations involved in the IETF.  This
   includes descriptions of the IESG and Working Groups and the rela-
   tionship with the Internet Society.

1. The IETF Standards Process

   The process used by the Internet community for the standardization of
   protocols and procedures is described in [B].  That document defines
   the stages in the standardization process, the requirements for mov-
   ing a document between stages and the types of documents used during
   this process.  It also addresses the intellectual property rights and
   copyright issues associated with the standards process.

2.  Internet Standards Organizations and Roles

   The following organizations and organizational roles are involved in
   the Internet standards process.  Contact information is contained in
   Appendix A.

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2.1  Internet Engineering Task Force

   The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open international
   community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers
   concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the
   smooth operation of the Internet.  It is the principal body engaged
   in the development of new Internet Standard specifications.

   2.2 IETF Working Groups

   The technical work of the IETF is done in its Working Groups, which
   are organized by topics into several Areas (e.g., routing, network
   management, security, etc.) under the coordination of Area Directors.
   Working Groups typically have a narrow focus and a lifetime bounded
   by completion of a specific task.

   For all purposes relevant to the Internet Standards development pro-
   cess, membership in the IETF and its Working Groups is defined to be
   established solely and entirely by individual participation in IETF
   and Working Group activities. Participation in the IETF and its Work-
   ing Groups is by individual technical contributors rather than by
   formal representatives of organizations.

   Anyone with the time and interest to do so is entitled and urged to
   participate actively in one or more IETF Working Groups and to attend
   IETF meetings which are held three times a year.  In most cases
   active Working Group participation is possible through electronic
   mail alone.  Internet video conferencing is also being used to allow
   for remote participation.

   To ensure a fair and open process, participants in the IETF and its
   Working Groups must be able to disclose, and must disclose to the
   Working Group chairs any relevant current or pending intellectual
   property rights that are reasonably and personally known to the par-
   ticipant if they participate in discussions about a specific technol-

   New Working Groups are established within the IETF by explicit char-
   ter.  The guidelines and procedures for the formation and operation
   of IETF working groups are described in detail in [A].

   A Working Group is managed by one or more Working Group chairs (see
   section 2.9).  It may also include editors of documents that record
   the group's work (see section 2.10). Further details of Working Group
   operation are contained in [A]

   IETF Working Groups display a spirit of cooperation as well as a high
   degree of technical maturity;  IETF participants recognize that the

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   greatest benefit for all members of the Internet community results
   from cooperative development of technically superior protocols and

2.3  IETF Secretariat

   The administrative functions necessary to support the activities of
   the IETF are performed by a Secretariat consisting of the IETF Execu-
   tive Director and his or her staff.  The IETF Executive Director is
   the formal point of contact for matters concerning any and all
   aspects of the Internet standards process, and is responsible for
   maintaining the formal public record of the Internet standards pro-
   cess [B].

2.4  Internet Society

   The Internet Society (ISOC) is an international organization con-
   cerned with the growth and evolution of the worldwide Internet and
   with the social, political, and technical issues that arise from its
   use.  The ISOC is an organization with individual and organizational
   members.  The ISOC is managed by a Board of Trustees elected by the
   worldwide individual membership.

   Internet standardization is an organized activity of the ISOC, with
   the Board of Trustees being responsible for ratifying the procedures
   and rules of the Internet standards process [B].

   The way in which the members of the ISOC Board of Trustees are
   selected, and other matters concerning the operation of the Internet
   Society, are described in the ISOC By Laws [C].

2.5 Internet Engineering Steering Group

   The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is the part of the
   Internet Society responsible for the management of the IETF technical
   activities.  It administers the Internet Standards process according
   to the rules and procedures defined in [B].  The IESG is responsible
   for the actions associated with the progression of technical specifi-
   cation along the "standards track" including the initial approval of
   new Working Groups and the final approval of specifications as Inter-
   net Standards.  The IESG is composed of the IETF Area Directors and
   the chair of the IETF, who also serves as the chair of the IESG.

   The members of the IESG are nominated by a nominations committee (the
   Nomcom), and are approved by the IAB.  See [E] for a detailed
   description of the Nomcom procedures.  Other matters concerning its
   organization and operation, are described in the IESG charter [does
   not yet exist].

Hovey & Bradner                                                 [Page 3]
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2.6  Internet Architecture Board

   The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is chartered by the Internet
   Society Trustees to provide oversight of the architecture of the
   Internet and its protocols.  The IAB appoints the IETF chair and is
   responsible for approving other IESG candidates put forward by the
   IETF nominating committee. The IAB is also responsible for reviewing
   and approving the charters of new Working Groups that are proposed
   for the IETF.

   The IAB provides oversight of the process used to create Internet
   Standards and serves as an appeal board for complaints of improper
   execution of the standards process [B]. In general it acts as source
   of advice to the IETF, the ISOC and the ISOC Board of Trustees con-
   cerning technical, architectural, procedural, and policy matters per-
   taining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.

   The members of the IAB are nominated by a nominations committee (the
   Nomcom), and are approved by the ISOC board.  See [E] for a detailed
   description of the Nomcom procedures.  The membership of the IAB con-
   sists of members selected by the Nomcom process and the IETF chair
   sitting as a ex-officio member.  Other matters concerning its organi-
   zation and operation, are described in the IAB charter [D].

2.7  Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

   Many protocol specifications include numbers, keywords, and other
   parameters that must be uniquely assigned.  Examples include version
   numbers, protocol numbers, port numbers, and MIB numbers. The Inter-
   net Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is responsible for assigning
   the values of these protocol parameters for the Internet.  The IANA
   publishes tables of all currently assigned numbers and parameters in
   RFCs entitled "Assigned Numbers" [E]. The IANA functions as the "top
   of the pyramid" for DNS and Internet Address assignment establishing
   policies for these functions.

   The functions of the IANA are performed by one or more individuals or
   organizations selected in accordance with the procedures defined by
   the IANA charter [F].

2.8  Request for Comments Editor

   The RFC publication series [B] is managed by an Editor (which may in
   practice be one or more individuals) responsible both for the mechan-
   ics of RFC publication and for upholding the traditionally high tech-
   nical and editorial standards of the RFC series.

   The functions of the RFC Editor are performed by one or more

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   individuals or organizations selected in accordance with the proce-
   dures defined by the RFC Editor charter [G].

2.9  Working Group Chair

   Each IETF Working Group is headed by a chair (or by co-chairs) with
   the responsibility for directing the group's activities, presiding
   over the group's meetings, and ensuring that the commitments of the
   group with respect to its role in the Internet standards process are
   met. In particular, the WG chair is the formal point of contact
   between the WG and the IESG, via the Area Director of the area to
   which the WG is assigned.

   The details on the selection and responsibilites of an IETF Working
   Group chair can be found in [A].

2.10  Document Editor Most IETF Working Groups focus their efforts on a
   document, or set of documents, that capture the results of the
   group's work.  A Working Group generally designates a person or per-
   sons to serve as the Editor for a particular document.  The Document
   Editor is responsible for ensuring that the contents of the document
   accurately reflect the decisions that have been made by the working

   As a general practice, the Working Group Chair and Document Editor
   positions are filled by different individuals to help ensure that the
   resulting documents accurately reflect the consensus of the Working
   Group and that all processes are followed.

2.11 Internet Research Task Force The Internet Research Task Force
   (IRTF) is not directly involved in the Internet standards process.
   It investigates topics considered to be too uncertain, too advanced,
   or insufficiently well-understood to be the subject of Internet stan-
   dardization.  When an IRTF activity generates a specification that is
   sufficiently stable to be considered for Internet standardization,
   the specification is processed through the IETF using the rules in
   this document.

   The IRTF is composed of individual Working Groups, but its structure
   and mode of operation is much less formal than that of the IETF, due
   in part to the fact that it does not participate directly in the
   Internet standards process.  The organization and program of work of
   the IRTF is overseen by the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG),
   which consists of the chairs of the IRTF Working Groups.  Details of
   the organization and operation of the IRTF and its Working Groups may
   be found in [H].

3. Security Considerations

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   Security is not addressed in this memo

4. References

   [A]  Huizer,E. and D. Crocker, "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
   Procedures", 03/24/1994. RFC 1603

   [B] Bradner, S. (Ed) "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3",
   x/y/96, RFC 1602bis

   [C] By - Laws for the Internet Society, as amended:

   [D]  Huitema, C. and the IAB, "Charter of the Internet  Architecture
   Board (IAB)", 3/22/94, RFC1601

   [E] Galvin, J (Ed.), "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and
   Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall Committees",
   x/y/96, nomcom RFC

   [F] IANA Charter

   [G] RFC Editor Charter

   [H] IRTF charter

5. Author's Addresses:

   Richard Hovey
   Digital Equipment Corporation
   1401 H Street NW
   Washington DC 20005

   phone:  +1 202 383 5615

   Scott Bradner
   Harvard University
   1350 Mass Ave. Rm 813
   Cambridge MA 02138

   phone: +1 617 495 3864

   Appendix A - contact information

   IETF -,

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   IESG -

   IAB -

Hovey & Bradner                                                 [Page 7]