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Network Working Group R. Hovey Request for Comments: 2028 Digital Equipment Corporation BCP: 11 S. Bradner Category: Best Current Practice Harvard University

                                                          October 1996
      The Organizations Involved in the IETF Standards Process

Status of this Memo

 This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
 Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
 improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


 This document describes the individuals and organizations involved in
 the IETF.  This includes descriptions of the IESG, the IETF Working
 Groups and the relationship between the IETF and the Internet

1. Documents controlling the process

1.1 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
 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.

2. Key individuals in the Process

2.1 The 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].

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 1] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

2.2 The 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].

2.3 The 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.

3. Key organizations in the Process

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

3.1 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.

3.2 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.

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 2] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

 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, 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
 participant if they participate in discussions about a specific
 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 detail in [A].
 A Working Group is managed by one or more Working Group chairs (see
 section 2.2).  It may also include editors of documents that record
 the group's work (see section 2.3). 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
 greatest benefit for all members of the Internet community results
 from cooperative development of technically superior protocols and

3.3 IETF Secretariat

 The administrative functions necessary to support the activities of
 the IETF are performed by a Secretariat consisting of the IETF
 Executive 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
 process [B].

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 3] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

3.4 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.
 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].

3.5 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
 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 its
 organization and operation, are described in the IESG charter [does
 not yet exist].

3.6 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

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 4] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

 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 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
 consists of members selected by the Nomcom process and the IETF chair
 sitting as a ex-officio member.  Other matters concerning its
 organization and operation, are described in the IAB charter [D].

3.7 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].

3.8 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.  Details of
 the organization and operation of the IRTF and its Working Groups may
 be found in [H].

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 5] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

4. Security Considerations

 Security is not addressed in this memo.

5. References

 [A]  Huizer,E. and D. Crocker, "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
 Procedures", RFC 1603, March 1994.
 [B] Bradner, S., Editor, "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
 3", RFC 2026, October 1996.
 [C] By - Laws for the Internet Society, as amended:
 [D]  Huitema, C. and the IAB, "Charter of the Internet  Architecture
 Board (IAB)", RFC 1601, March 1994.
 [E] Galvin, J (Ed.), "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and
 Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall Committees",
 RFC 2027, October 1996.
 [F] IANA Charter, Work in Progress.
 [G] RFC Editor Charter, Work in Progress.
 [H] IRTF Charter, RFC 2014, October 1996.

5. Authors' 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

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 6] RFC 2028 IETF Organizations October 1996

Appendix A - Contact Information

 IETF -,
 IESG -,
 IAB -,
 RFC Editor -,
 IANA -,

Hovey & Bradner Best Current Practice [Page 7]

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