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Versions: 00 01 02 rfc2028                                              
Network Working Group                                      Richard Hovey
Internet Draft                             Digital Equipment Corporation
                                                           Scott Bradner
                                                      Harvard University
                                                           February 1996

        The Organizations Involved in the IETF Standards Process


Status of this Memo

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

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
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   To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
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   ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).


   This document describes the organizations involved in the IETF.  This
   includes descriptions of the IESG and Working Groups and the
   relationship with the Internet Society.

1.  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.

1.1  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.

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1.2 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.

   IETF Working Groups display a spirit of cooperation as well as a high
   degree of technical maturity because IETF participants recognize that
   the greatest benefit for all members of the Internet community
   results from cooperative development of technically superior
   protocols and services.

   For all purposes relevant to the Internet Standards development
   process, 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
   Working 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, a participant in the IETF and its
   Working Groups must be able to disclose, and must disclose to the
   Working Group chair, any current or pending intellectual property or
   other rights which are relevant to the technical specifications under
   development by the Working Group.  Such disclosures are restricted to
   intellectual property rights which are reasonably and personally
   known to the participant.

   A Working Group is managed by one or more Working Group chairs (see
   section 1.9) and may also include editors of documents that record
   the group's work (see section 1.10). New Working Groups are
   established within the IETF by explicit charter. The guidelines and
   procedures for the formation and operation of IETF working groups are
   described in more detail in [A].

1.3  IETF Secretariat

   The administrative functions necessary to support the activities of
   the IETF are performed by a Secretariat consisting of the IESG

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   Secretary and his or her staff.  The IESG Secretary 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 process [B].

1.4  Internet Society

   The Internet Society (ISOC) is an international organization
   concerned 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.

   The ISOC exercises oversight of Internet standardization though the
   Board of Trustees, which is responsible for ratifying the procedures
   and rules of the Internet standards process.

   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].

1.5 Internet Engineering Steering Group

   The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is chartered by the
   Internet Society with responsiblty 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 specification along the "standards track" including the
   initial approval of new Working Groups and the final approval of
   specifications as Internet 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 the
   IESG organization and operation are described in the IESG charter
   [does not yet exist].

1.6  Internet Architecture Board

   The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is chartered by the Internet
   Society to provide oversight of the architecture of the Internet and
   its protocols.

   The IAB approves the IETF chair and is responsible for approving

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   other IESG candidates put forward by the Nomcom. The IAB assists in
   the IESG review of the charters of new Working Groups that are
   proposed for the IETF.  The IAB oversees the creation of 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
   concerning technical, architectural, procedural, and policy matters
   pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.

   The membership of the IAB consists of members selected by the Nomcom
   process [A] and the IETF chair sitting as an ex-officio member.  The
   members of the IAB are approved by the ISOC Board of Trustees. Other
   matters concerning IAB organization and operation are described in
   the IAB charter [D].

1.7  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
   Internet 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].

1.8  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
   mechanics of RFC publication and for upholding the traditionally high
   technical and editorial standards of the RFC series.

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

1.9  Working Group Chair

   Each IETF Working Group is headed by a chair (or by co-chairs if a WG
   so decides) 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

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   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 proposed chair(s) of a new Working Group is (are) identified in
   the proposed WG charter when it is submitted to the IESG for review.
   The IESG, with advice from the IAB, is responsible for approving the
   appointment of the WG chair(s) in conjunction with its approval of
   the proposed WG charter.  The IESG may remove a WG chair if and when
   the IESG determines that the Working Group would benefit
   significantly from the appointment of a different chair (or chairs).

1.10  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
   persons 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  group.

   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.

1.11 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
   standardization.  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.

1.12. Nominations Committee (Nomcom)

   The members of the IESG and IAB are nominated by a nominations
   committee (the Nomcom) and are approved by the IAB and ISOC Board of
   Trustees respectively.  See [E] for a detailed description of the
   Nomcom procedures.

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2. The IETF Standards Process

   The process used by the Internet community for the standardization of
   protocols and procedures are described in [B].  That document defines
   the stages in the standardization process, the requirements for
   moving 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.

3. Security Considerations

   Security is not addressed in this memo

4. References

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

   [B]  Bradner, S. (Ed.), "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
   3", RFC 1602bis (in prep)

   [C] ISOC By Laws

   [D] Huitema, C., and IAB, "Charter of the Internet Architecture Board
   (IAB)", RFC1601, March 1994

   [E] nomcom RFC - in prep

5. Author's Addresses:

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

   email:  hovey@wnpv01.enet.dec.com
   phone:  +1 202 383 5615

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

   email: sob@harvard.edu
   phone: +1 617 495 3864

   Appendix A - contact information

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   IETF - ietf@cnri.reston.va.us

   IESG - iesg@cnri.reston.va.us

   IAB - iab@isi.edu

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