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NATO Architecture Framework

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NATO Architecture Framework

The aim of the NATO Architecture Framework Version 4 (NAFv4) is to provide a standard for developing and describing architectures for both military and business use. It provides a standardized way to develop architecture artefacts, by defining the following:

  • Introduction – an overview of NAF, what it is and who uses it (Chapter 1)
  • Methodology – how to develop architectures and run an architecture project (Chapter 2)
  • Viewpoints – conventions for the construction, interpretation and use of architecture views for communicating the enterprise architecture to different stakeholders (Chapter 3)
  • Meta-Models – the application of commercial meta-models identified as compliant with NATO policy (Chapter 4)
  • Glossary, References and Bibliography (Chapter 5)

The NATO Architecture Framework v4 (NAFv4), issued by the Architecture Capability Team (ACaT) of the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (C3B) in January 2018, provides guidance on describing both enterprise architectures and systems architectures.

The objectives of the framework are to:


NAFv4 Chapter 2 provides a methodology which includes how to set up an architecting environment, govern, manage, define and evaluate architectures. The methodology has been developed from accepted best practice and standards, detailing the following:

  • Terms and concepts for architecting.[1]
  • A foundation for architecture activities[2]
  • Architecture principles[3]
  • Architecture activities at enterprise and project levels [4]
  • Architecture repositories and libraries enabling reuse and improved interoperability between communities, and to formalize architecture-based references.[4]

Viewpoints (Grid representation)

NAFv4 Chapter 3 defines viewpoints (where you a looking from) allowing the description of architecture views (what you see). It details a two-dimensional classification scheme for the standardized architecture viewpoints, this serves as the baseline for any NAF-Compliant architecture effort. To aid architects, these viewpoints are organized into a logical and consistent manner and presented as a “grid”. This ‘grid’ structure, represents the various ‘subjects of concern’ (rows) and ‘aspects of concern’ (columns), as shown below:

The selection of Viewpoints must be tailored to the specific architecture effort; i.e. suitable Viewpoints need to be identified in the grid, should additional Viewpoints be required they must be defined.

A View is specified by a Viewpoint, this prescribes the concepts, models, analysis techniques and visualizations that are provided by the View.

The Architecture Description typically addresses a set of related concerns and is tailored for specific stakeholders.

  • A View specifies what you see
  • A Viewpoint is where you are looking from, focusing on particular subjects or stakeholder concerns

Note: the NAF version 4 (NAFv4) specifies how views of NAF version 3 (NAFv3) can be reused, i.e. each cell of the “grid” refers to the NAFv3 views and the NAFv4 methodology explains how forward and backward compatibility can be ensured.

Adoption of Industry Meta-Models

Chapter 4 of the NATO Architecture Framework identifies the commercial meta-models which can be used to creation viewpoints described in chapter 3:

Glossary, References and Bibliography

Chapter 5 of the NATO Architecture Framework define major definitions and references in line with the major standards and reference documents used in Architecture activities.

Web access to download NAFv4

Official site to download the latest version of NAF is available (here) or on the (NATO Portal).

Search for “Architecture Framework” and select the “NATO Architecture Framework, Version 4” entry.

See also


This page was last edited on 4 November 2020, at 00:03
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