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Network Working Group                                     L. Daigle, Ed.
Request for Comments: 4052                   Internet Architecture Board
BCP: 102                                                      April 2005
Category: Best Current Practice

       IAB Processes for Management of IETF Liaison Relationships

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.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


   This document discusses the procedures used by the IAB to establish
   and maintain liaison relationships between the IETF and other
   Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), consortia and industry
   fora.  This document also discusses the appointment and
   responsibilities of IETF liaison managers and representatives, and
   the expectations of the IAB for organizations with whom liaison
   relationships are established.

Table of Contents

   1. Liaison Relationships and Personnel .............................2
   2. Aspects of Liaisons and Liaison Management ......................3
      2.1. Liaison Relationships ......................................3
      2.2. Liaison Manager ............................................3
      2.3. Liaison Representatives ....................................4
      2.4. Liaison Communications .....................................4
   3. Summary of IETF Liaison Manager Responsibilities ................5
   4. Approval and Transmission of Liaison Statements .................6
   5. Security Considerations .........................................6
   6. Acknowledgements ................................................7
   7. References ......................................................8
      7.1. Normative References .......................................8
      7.2. Informative References .....................................8

1.  Liaison Relationships and Personnel

   The IETF, as an organization, has the need to engage in direct
   communication or joint endeavors with various other formal
   organizations.  For example, the IETF is one of several Standards
   Development Organizations, or SDOs, and all SDOs including the IETF
   find it increasingly necessary to communicate and coordinate their
   activities involving Internet-related technologies.  This is useful
   in order to avoid overlap in work efforts and to manage interactions
   between their groups.  In cases where the mutual effort to
   communicate and coordinate activities is formalized, these
   relationships are generically referred to as "liaison relationships".

   In such cases, a person from the IETF is designated to manage a given
   liaison relationship; that person is generally called the "IETF
   liaison manager" to the other organization.  When the liaison
   relationship is expected to encompass a complex or broad range of
   activities, more people may be designated to undertake some portions
   of the communications, coordinated by the liaison manager.  Often,
   the other organization will similarly designate their own liaison
   manager to the IETF.

   This document is chiefly concerned with:

   o  the establishment and maintenance of liaison relationships, and

   o  the appointment and responsibilities of IETF liaison managers and

   The management of other organizations' liaison managers to the IETF,
   whether or not in the context of a liaison relationship, is outside
   the scope of this document.

   The IETF has chartered the Internet Architecture Board to manage
   liaison relationships.  Consistent with its charter [2], the IAB acts
   as representative of the interests of the IETF and the Internet
   Society in technical liaison relationships with other organizations
   concerned with standards and other technical and organizational
   issues relevant to the worldwide Internet.  Liaison relationships are
   kept as informal as possible and must be of demonstrable value to the
   IETF's technical mandate.  Individual participants of the IETF are
   appointed as liaison managers or representatives to other
   organizations by the IAB.

   In general, a liaison relationship is most valuable when there are
   areas of technical development of mutual interest.  For the most
   part, SDOs would rather leverage existing work done by other
   organizations than recreate it themselves (and would like the same
   done with respect to their own work).  Establishing a liaison
   relationship can provide the framework for ongoing communications to

   o  prevent inadvertent duplication of effort, without obstructing
      either organization from pursuing its own mandate;

   o  provide authoritative information of one organization's
      dependencies on the other's work.

2.  Aspects of Liaisons and Liaison Management

2.1.  Liaison Relationships

   A liaison relationship is set up when it is mutually agreeable and
   needed for some specific purpose, in the view of the other
   organization, the IAB, and the IETF participants conducting the work.
   There is no set process or form for this; the IETF participants and
   the peer organization approach the IAB, and after discussion come to
   an agreement to form the relationship.  In some cases, the intended
   scope and guidelines for the collaboration are documented
   specifically (e.g., see [3], [4], and [5]).

   In setting up the relationship, the IAB expects that there will be a
   mutual exchange of views and discussion of the best approach for
   undertaking new standardization work items.  Any work items resulting
   for the IETF will be undertaken in the usual IETF procedures, defined
   in [1].  The peer organization often has different organizational
   structure and procedures than the IETF, which will require some
   flexibility on the part of both organizations to accommodate.  The
   IAB expects that each organization will use the relationship
   carefully, allowing time for the processes it requests to occur in
   the other organization, and will not make unreasonable demands.

2.2.  Liaison Manager

   As described above, most work on mutually interesting topics will be
   carried out in the usual way within the IETF and the peer
   organization.  Therefore, most communications will be informal in
   nature (for example, Working Group (WG) or mailing list discussions).

   An important function of the liaison manager is to ensure that
   communication is maintained, productive, and timely.  He or she may
   use any applicable businesslike approach, from private to public
   communications, and bring in other parties as needed.  If a

   communication from a peer organization is addressed to an
   inappropriate party, such as being sent to the WG but not copying the
   Area Director (AD) or being sent to the wrong WG, the liaison manager
   will help redirect or otherwise augment the communication.

   IETF liaison managers should also communicate and coordinate with
   other liaison managers where concerned technical activities overlap.

   Since the IAB is ultimately responsible for liaison relationships,
   anyone who has a problem with a relationship (whether an IETF
   participant or a person from the peer organization) should first
   consult the IAB's designated liaison manager, and if that does not
   result in a satisfactory outcome, the IAB itself.

2.3.  Liaison Representatives

   The liaison manager is, specifically, a representative of the IETF
   for the purpose of managing the liaison relationship.  There may be
   occasion to identify other representatives for the same relationship.
   For example, if the area of mutual work is extensive, it might be
   appropriate to name several people as liaison representatives to
   different parts of the other organization.  Or, it might be
   appropriate to name a liaison representative to attend a particular

   These other liaison representatives are selected by the IAB and work
   in conjunction (and close communication) with the liaison manager.
   In some cases, this may also require communication and coordination
   with other liaison managers or representatives where concerned
   technical activities overlap.  The specific responsibilities of the
   liaison representative will be identified at the time of appointment.

2.4.  Liaison Communications

   Communications between organizations use a variety of formal and
   informal channels.  The stated preference of the IETF, which is
   largely an informal organization, is to use informal channels, as
   these have historically worked well to expedite matters.  In some
   cases, however, a more formal communication is appropriate, either as
   an adjunct to the informal channel or in its place.  In the case of
   formal communications, the established procedures of many
   organizations use a form known as a "liaison statement".  Procedures
   for sending, managing, and responding to liaison statements are
   discussed in [6].

3.  Summary of IETF Liaison Manager Responsibilities

   While the requirements will certainly vary depending on the nature of
   the peer organization and the type of joint work being undertaken,
   the general expectations of a liaison manager appointed by the IAB
   are as follows:

   o  Attend relevant meetings of the peer organization as needed and
      report back to the appropriate IETF organization any material

   o  Carry any messages from the IETF to the peer organization, when
      specifically instructed.  Generally, these communications
      "represent the IETF", and therefore due care and consensus must be
      applied in their construction.

   o  Prepare occasional updates.  The target of these updates (e.g.,
      the IAB, an AD, a WG) will generally be identified upon

   o  Oversee delivery of liaison statements addressed to the IETF,
      ensuring that they reach the appropriate destination within the
      IETF, and ensure that relevant responses from the IETF are created
      and sent in a timely fashion.

   o  Work with the other organization to ensure that the IETF's liaison
      statements are appropriately directed and responded to in a timely

   o  Communicate and coordinate with other IETF liaison managers and
      representatives where concerned technical activities overlap.

4.  Approval and Transmission of Liaison Statements

   It is important that appropriate leadership review be made of
   proposed IETF liaison statements and that those writing such
   statements, who claim to be speaking on behalf of IETF, are truly
   representing IETF views.

   All outgoing liaison statements will be copied to IETF Secretariat
   using procedures defined in [6] or its successors.

   For a liaison statement generated on behalf of an IETF WG, the WG
   chair(s) must create a statement based on appropriate discussions
   within the WG to ensure working group consensus for the position(s)
   presented.  The chair(s) must have generated or must agree with the
   sending of the liaison statement, and must advise the AD(s) that the
   liaison statement has been sent by copying the appropriate ADs on the

   For a liaison statement generated on behalf of an IETF Area, the
   AD(s) must have generated or must agree with the sending of the
   liaison statement.  If the liaison statement is not sent by the ADs,
   then their agreement must be obtained in advance and confirmed by
   copying the ADs on the message.

   For a liaison statement generated on behalf of the IETF as a whole,
   the IETF Chair must have generated or must agree with the sending of
   the liaison statement.  If the liaison statement is not sent by the
   IETF Chair, then his or her agreement must be obtained in advance and
   confirmed by copying the IETF Chair on the message.

   For a liaison statement generated by the IAB, the IAB Chair must have
   generated or must agree with the sending of the liaison statement.
   If the liaison statement is not sent by the IAB Chair, then his or
   her agreement must be obtained in advance and confirmed by copying
   the IAB Chair on the message.

   In cases where prior agreement was not obtained as outlined above,
   and the designated authority (AD, IETF Chair, or IAB Chair) in fact
   does not agree with the message, the designated authority will work
   with the liaison manager to follow up as appropriate, including
   emitting a revised liaison statement if necessary.  Clearly, this is
   a situation best avoided by assuring appropriate agreement in advance
   of sending the liaison message.

5.  Security Considerations

   The security of the Internet is not threatened by these procedures.

6.  Acknowledgements

   This document was developed as part of a conversation regarding the
   management of [6], and the authors of that document contributed
   significantly to it.  Also, this version of the document has been
   improved over its predecessor by several suggestions from Stephen J.
   Trowbridge, Peter Saint-Andre, Michael Patton, Bert Wijnen, Fred
   Baker, Scott Bradner, Scott Brim, Avri Doria, Allison Mankin, Thomas
   Narten, Russ Housley and Dan Romasanu.

   Members of the IAB at the time of approval of this document were:

      Bernard Aboba
      Harald Alvestrand (IETF chair)
      Rob Austein
      Leslie Daigle (IAB chair)
      Patrik Faltstrom
      Sally Floyd
      Jun-ichiro Itojun Hagino
      Mark Handley
      Bob Hinden
      Geoff Huston (IAB Executive Director)
      Eric Rescorla
      Pete Resnick
      Jonathan Rosenberg

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [1]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP
        09, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [2]  Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, "Charter of the
        Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850, May 2000.

7.2.  Informative References

   [3]  Rosenbrock, K., Sanmugam, R., Bradner, S., and J. Klensin,
        "3GPP-IETF Standardization Collaboration", RFC 3113, June 2001.

   [4]  Bradner, S., Calhoun, P., Cuschieri, H., Dennett, S., Flynn, G.,
        Lipford, M., and M. McPheters, "3GPP2-IETF Standardization
        Collaboration", RFC 3131, June 2001.

   [5]  Fishman, G. and S. Bradner, "Internet Engineering Task Force and
        International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunications
        Standardization Sector Collaboration Guidelines", RFC 3356,
        August 2002.

   [6]  Trowbridge, S., Bradner, S., and F. Baker, "Procedure for
        Handling Liaison Statements Between Standards Bodies",
        June 2004.

Authors' Addresses

   Leslie Daigle

   Internet Architecture Board

   EMail: iab@iab.org

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