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].

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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.

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   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].

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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

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   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].

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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

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Appendix A - Contact Information

   IETF -,

   IESG -,

   IAB -,

   RFC Editor -,

   IANA -,

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