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Network Working Group                                     L. Daigle, Ed.
Internet-Draft                              Thinking Cat Enterprises LLC
Intended status: Informational                          October 31, 2016
Expires: May 4, 2017

               After the first decade: IASA Retrospective


   The IETF Administrative Support Activity was formally established and
   undertaken as a project of the Internet Society in 2005.  In the
   following 10+ years, the IETF has grown and changed, as have the
   responsibilities that fall to the IASA.

   This document reflects on some of those changes and the implications
   within the IASA structure, providing some areas for further
   discussion to consider evolvingthe IASA and the IETF/ISOC

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 4, 2017.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect

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   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
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Table of Contents

   1.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Evolution of IASA breadth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  IASA coverage in 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.2.  IASA coverage in 2016 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Evolution of Internet Society Partnership . . . . . . . . . .   6
   5.  Issues and Potential Next Steps for the IASA structure  . . .   6
   6.  Closing remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   7.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

1.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.  Introduction

   A special Introduction to the -00 version of this draft: When
   completed, this document will achieve the stated goal of capturing
   reflections on the evolution of the IASA.  Right now, it is the first
   draft written by one person with a few peoples' (thoughtful, and
   appreciated) input.  Gaps are inevitable.  Misrepresentations are not
   intended.  Further constructive comments are welcome.

   In April 2005, BCP 101 ([RFC4071]) was published, formally creating
   the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA).  At the end of an
   intense community discussion, the IASA was formed as an activity
   housed within the Internet Society (ISOC), and BCP 101 defined the
   roles of the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), and the
   IETF Administrative Directory (IAD).  Together, these roles have
   defined responsibilities for IETF's fiscal and administrative

   With the newly established IASA, the IETF was in a position to
   formalize several activities that had been undertaken by other
   organizations, on behalf of the IETF.  This allowed the IETF take
   responsibility of those operations.  Through the 10+ years since the
   inception of IASA, the operations and responsibilities have, however,
   grown and requirements have evolved.  Nor has the world stood still

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   -- at the same time, the Internet Society has grown and taken on a
   broader role in Internet governance and global activities.

   This document reflects on some of those changes and the implications
   within the IASA structure, providing some areas for further
   discussion to consider evolvingthe IASA and the IETF/ISOC

3.  Evolution of IASA breadth

3.1.  IASA coverage in 2005

   In order to understand the evolution of the IASA, it is important to
   describe the baseline -- what the IASA was when it was first formed.

   o  Secretariat -- the IETF Secretariat function was carried out by an
      organization that had been a subsidiary of CNRI (which had
      collected meeting fees and provided Secretariat services until the
      creation of the IASA).  In 2005, key personnel migrated to Neustar
      to carry out the Secretariat function under contract with the
      Internet Society (for IASA).  This gave the IETF full control and
      responsibility for picking meeting locations, as well as setting
      and collecting meeting fees.  A first priority was to establish
      meeting dates, locations and contracts more than a year in
      advance, to improve contract negotiating positions, costs, and
      provide clarity for attendee planning.  (Historical data point:
      the early 2004 Seoul IETF meeting did not have a hotel contract
      booked in December of 2003).

   o  RFC Editor -- The RFC Editor function had been handled at USC ISI
      for many years (since its inception?).  In the years leading up to
      the formation of the IASA, The Internet Society had provided
      funding to ISI in the form of a contract to carry out the work.
      With the creation of the IASA, this contract was folded into the
      ISOC/IASA support.

   o  IANA -- by the time the IASA was established, ICANN was well-
      established and had been carrying out the Internet Assigned Names
      Activity for several years.  The IETF had established a Memorandum
      of Understanding with ICANN on the handling of protocol parameters
      for IETF standards ([RFC2860]), but it did not specify levels of
      service or practical terms of agreement.

   o  Tools -- the Secretariat had developers on staff who had built
      tools to support the workflow of the IETF (e.g., liaison manager).
      The software was proprietary, and IETF community programmers had
      no access or insight.  At the same time, the IETF community being
      what it is, there were community-driven tools that were built up

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      in an open source fashion.  These were completely separate and
      separately maintained.

   o  Staff -- the IASA established that the IETF would have one full-
      time employee (officially an employee of ISOC, as part of the
      administrative arrangements).  That one employee was the IETF
      Administrative Director.

   o  The IAOC -- established as an administrative oversight body, the
      IAOC was established with 3 voting and one non-voting ex officio
      members (IETF Chair, IAB Chair, ISOC CEO and IAD, respectively),
      one member appointed by the ISOC Board, and 4 appointees from the
      community (2 from NomCom, 1 each appointed by the IESG and IAB).

3.2.  IASA coverage in 2016

   A little more than a decade later, things have changed substantially
   in terms of the coverage of the responsibilities of the IASA.

   o  Secretariat -- the IASA put the Secretariat contract out for
      competitive bid in 2007, establishing a contract with professional
      association management company (Association Management Services)
      in 2008, with key personnel moving to AMS.

   o  RFC Editor -- the IAB split the RFC Editor function into separate
      functions and these have been contracted out -- RFC Series Editor;
      RFC Production, Independent Series Editor.  These are collectively
      overseen by an IAB-based, community-populated advisory board
      (RSOC).  The RFC Series continues to grow in terms of number of
      documents published, and new features (e.g., ISSNs) and other
      formats supported for the documents.  (N.B.: The IASA is not
      responsible for defining or driving any of that growth -- it's
      mentioned here as a reflection of the scope of the work that the
      IASA is called upon to support).

   o  IETF Trust -- the IETF Trust was formed after the IASA was
      established.  It was created in 2006, when RFC 4748 updated RFC
      3798 (the first organization of IETF rights in contributions), and
      that RFC was updated by RFC 5378 ([RFC5378]) as the organizational
      definition of the IETF Trust.

   o  IANA -- Trust holds the IPR, we now formally contract with ICANN
      to do the work (which is an update over the SLA that was
      established in the intervening decade)

   o  Tools -- the IETF's software tools are still a mix of things
      developed spontaneously by community members and specific work put
      out for hire.  The latter is now handled through RFPs, and care is

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      made to ensure that tools upon which the community is dependent
      can be maintained and supported for as long as needed.

   o  Comms -- Beyond simply having a reliable website, the IETF's use
      of "communications" has extended in recent years.  This ranges
      from updates in the website itself, to work with social and
      industry media and messaging to position the IETF in relelvant
      global discussions.  Of late, the IETF has used the services of
      ISOC professionals communications staff, helping deal with some of
      the publicly visible issues such as the impacts of surveillance
      revelations or the IANA transition.  Starting from 2017, this
      support is for the first time part of the IETF budget, whereas
      previously the activity and its funding not visible at that level

   o  Sponsorship and funding -- even as the IETF retains its basic
      operational structure, the industry around it changes.  The last
      decade has seen increased costs of meetings and productions, and a
      greater reliance on corporate funding.  Where once the IETF relied
      on individual community members convincing their companies to step
      up for the next meeting, the IETF now plans its meetings several
      years in advance and needs to align funding expectations
      accordingly.  It takes expertise to update funding models, build
      and implement programs for securing industry sponsorship.  BCP 101
      formally identifies that the IETF is not to fundraise on its own;
      indeed, the IASA is not responsible for the sponsorship
      development (just managing its impact on the IASA budget).  The
      IETF sponsorship models have evolved, and in 2016 they consist of
      ISOC memberships, the Global Host program, meeting hosts and other
      meeting sponsors, the Hackathon and Bits-n-Bites sponsorships, and
      the IETF Endowment.  The team helping with sponsors involves a
      primary sponsorship person at ISOC, the IAD, the Secretariat, as
      well as frequent help from the IETF leadership and their

   o  Staff -- the IASA still has exactly one permanent employee -- the
      IETF Administrative Director.

   o  IAOC -- the structure of the IAOC remains unchanged since the
      IASA's inception.

   o  IAOC Committees -- recognizing the need for more eyes and
      specialized attention for different branches of work requiring
      IAOC oversight, the IAOC established committees.  Membership in
      these committees is decided by, but not limited to, the IAOC.
      (Details about IAOC Committees, including the current list of
      committees and membership, is available from
      https://iaoc.ietf.org/committees.html ).  The committees do the
      heavy lifting on background work for IAOC decisions.  The IAOC is

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      nonetheless responsible for its decisions based on committee
      output and recommendations.  For example,

      *  Finance Committee: reviews financial reports prepared by the
         IAD (with support from ISOC Accounting staff), discusses budget
         proposals before going to the whole IAOC.

      *  Meetings Committee: Reviews detailed proposals for IETF meeting
         venues and proposes locations for approval by the IAOC.

4.  Evolution of Internet Society Partnership

   When the IASA was formally created, the Internet Society had only
   recently established a subtantial and steady financial basis (through
   its Public Interest Registry project).  "Internet Governance" was a
   relatively new global policy discussion topic, and the Internet
   Society provided a much needed voice for the Internet technical
   community.  It had a very small staff (10 staff listed in the 2004
   annual report), a broad footprint of Chapters around the globe, and a
   few, focused projects undertaken by staff.

   Since 2005, the Internet Society has expanded significantly,
   organizationally and in its presence on the world stage of Internet
   policy, development and technology.  While it remains committed to
   its role of support of the IETF, it becomes increasingly challenging
   to maintain (and explain) the reality that the Internet Society and
   the IETF are two separate organizations, with independent roles and
   perspectives, while everything from the hotel contracts to the MoU
   with ICANN (for IANA services) is signed by the Internet Society (as
   the legal entity for the IETF).

5.  Issues and Potential Next Steps for the IASA structure

   Here are some issues that could use addressing in updates to the IASA

   o  The most general question: the effort involved in IASA-related
      tasks has considerably risen during its existence, and the current
      organisatorial arrangements may no longer be the perfect match for
      the task.  Are changes needed in the organisation?

   o  The 2016 IETF is more diverse and more international than it was
      previously.  Arranging meetings is a particular area that today
      demands more work, and also needs to be done within the
      expectations of the community.  Local conditions, invitation and
      visa processes, and hotel and network facilities demand effort.
      While the IAOC has made some changes regarding site selection, and
      ongoing IETF working group effort will help specify requirements

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      more clearly, it remains unclear if the current arrangements are
      the best possible organisation for setting up meetings.

   o  Sponsorship and hosting issues in particular are difficult for
      meetings.  While some operational changes are being made to the
      sponsorship opportunities for the IETF, the IETF would probably be
      served well by moving more towards funding models that are
      independent of the meetings.

   o  In the last couple of years, the IAOC and ISOC have worked to
      ensure that in-kind contributions as work and other support are
      properly accounted for in the IETF budget.  This increases
      transparency and awareness.  However, even with this progress, the
      actual work is still organised within two separate organisations,
      which makes it hard to have one decision point regarding where and
      how to spend resources.

   o  Clarity of IETF representative communications: who is responsible
      for determining the structure and message of the IETF's place on
      the world stage, to potential sponsors, etc.  The IASA role is to
      ensure there are appropriate resources (expertise, materials), but
      it is not currently clear to whom those should be provided, and
      therefore, what the specification of the task is.

   o  Representation for sponsorhips: The Internet Society is formally
      responsible for IETF fund raising (per BCP101).  The IASA is
      responsible for aligning promised sponsor benefits with meeting
      realities, and tracking the overall budget.  Currently, the IASA
      relies on the IETF Chair to take responsibility for managing
      discussions required to vet any possible changes in
      representation, but perhaps there are other models that would
      scale more effectively.

   o  Clarity of role in the IETF Endowment: related to the question of
      determining the shape of representative communications materials,
      potential IETF Endowment contributors ask for a perspective of
      where the IETF is going in the next decade, and how Endowment
      money might be used.  The future of the IETF is not for the IASA
      to decide, but the IAOC's role in building and managing the IETF
      budget make it a natural place to look for some of these answers.
      This highlights three problems:

      1.  It is ISOC that is pitching the IETF Endowment (because ISOC
          is a legal organization; because the IETF is not supposed to
          do fundraising, per BCP 101) and potential funders can be
          confused why the IETF is not speaking directly.

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      2.  The obvious question, "Why doesn't ISOC just pay for it?" --
          which stems from a lack of perception of the different world
          roles of the two organizations.

      3.  In preparing the pitch for the IETF Endowment, ISOC naturally
          turns to the "money manager" of the IETF to get answers to
          these questions, and it is confusing when the IAOC can neither
          provide answers or identify the suitably responsible part of
          the organization.

      A better plan would be to have clarity about who the IETF thinks
      is responsible for such discussions, and messaging that more
      clearly to the rest o.

   o  Formalizing the relationship between the IETF and the Internet
      Society: in establishing the IASA in 2005, the IETF and the
      Internet Society determined the best relationship was to have the
      IASA homed as an Internet Society project.  Is that still the best
      arrangement for all concerned?

   o  Staffing: The IASA was created with one fulltime IETF staff person
      -- the IETF Administrative Director.  Some questioned whether it
      would even be a fulltime job.  It always has been at least a
      fulltime job, and over the years the shortfall of resources has
      been at least partially addressed by contributions of Internet
      Society staff resources that are available (e.g., see notes above
      about the IETF Communications plans, etc).  This is suboptimal for
      the IETF in that staff availability may not align well with actual
      needs, and suboptimal for the Internet Society that has its own
      projects to pursue.

   o  IAOC membership: The IAOC has 4 ex officio members (IETF Chair,
      IAB Chair, ISOC CEO, IETF Administrative Director (non-voting)),
      and 5 appointed members.  One of 5 members is appointed by the
      ISOC Board of Trustees, and is traditionally expected not to stand
      for IAOC Chair.  That leaves a small pool from which to select the
      IAOC Chair (and the IETF Trust Chair, usually a different person),
      and very few (2, by the time you've appointed Chairs) "worker
      bees" for the IAOC.  This is a functional model for handling those
      review issues that can be put to the IAOC by the IAD and the
      Committees and addressed in the IAOC monthly teleconference.
      There is zero bandwidth for deep review or engagement on any
      topic.  Whle the IAOC was intended only ever to be oversight, and
      the IAD does not need a huge flock of "bosses", the fact that this
      shallowness has become a friction point suggests that something
      structural needs to change, either within the IAOC or the IASA

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   o  IETF engagement in IASA: The group of people who engage in the of
      the IETF demonstrate little interest in how the IASA is
      administered or paid for, unless something goes "wrong".
      (Consider the consistent lack of interest and short volunteer
      lists for open IAOC positions, contrasted against the e-mail
      evaluations of meeting venues at each and every IETF meeting.
      Hmmm.  Perhaps the latter dissuades potential volunteers?!).  This
      makes it difficult for the IAOC to identify, pursue, or suggest
      changes that might ultimately be in the organizations long term
      (or, sometimes, even short term) interest.  More consistent
      engagement might help.

6.  Closing remarks

   The creation of the IETF was a step in formalizing discussions among
   engineers who were interested in the development of the
   specifications of the technology to drive the Internet.  Creating the
   IASA was a logical step in bringing together the various
   administrative functions that had been first offered by different
   organizations involved in the work.  As the world continues to evolve
   around the IETF and the Internet, perhaps it is time for another
   review of where we are and whether our administrative formalizations
   fit the needs of the work at hand.

7.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC2860]  Carpenter, B., Baker, F., and M. Roberts, "Memorandum of
              Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the
              Internet Assigned Numbers Authority", RFC 2860,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2860, June 2000,

   [RFC4071]  Austein, R., Ed. and B. Wijnen, Ed., "Structure of the
              IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)", BCP 101,
              RFC 4071, DOI 10.17487/RFC4071, April 2005,

   [RFC5378]  Bradner, S., Ed. and J. Contreras, Ed., "Rights
              Contributors Provide to the IETF Trust", BCP 78, RFC 5378,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5378, November 2008,

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Author's Address

   Leslie Daigle (editor)
   Thinking Cat Enterprises LLC

   Email: ldaigle@thinkingcat.com

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