Network Working Group H. Alvestrand Request for Comments: 3710 Cisco Systems Category: Informational February 2004 An IESG charter Status of this Memo This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited. Copyright Notice Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004). All Rights Reserved.
AbstractThis memo provides a charter for the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), a management function of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It is meant to document the charter of the IESG as it is presently understood.
RFC 1602 . (The previous process was documented in RFC 1310 ; RFC 1602 has later been updated by RFC 1871  and obsoleted by RFC 2026 .) Some of the functions were also defined in RFC 1603 , Working Group Guidelines, which was later obsoleted by RFC 2418 . As the community has grown, and the IESG has gathered experience, the ways in which the IESG has approached its tasks have varied considerably, but the tasks have remained relatively constant. This document describes the tasks assigned to the IESG. It does not attempt to describe in detail the procedures the IESG uses to accomplish these tasks; that is done elsewhere - consult the IESG's Web pages on the IETF Website for more information . At this time (spring 2003), the structure of the IETF is undergoing reevaluation, and the result is likely to include changes to the IESG's role. Therefore, this document was written as a "documentation of existing practice" rather than as IETF consensus on what the IESG should do. This document is published as an Informational RFC, detailing the current operations of the IESG. It does not claim to represent consensus of the IETF that this is the right set of instructions to the IESG. BCP 10  (Nomcom procedures). The IETF Executive Director is the person charged with running the IETF Secretariat.
The IESG also has liaisons, who are members of the IESG mailing list and may attend all IESG meetings. The Liaison positions exist to facilitate the work of the IETF by expediting communication with other entities involved in the IETF process; which positions to have are decided by the IESG. The liaisons are selected as appropriate by the bodies they represent. At the time of this writing, the liaisons present represent the following bodies: The RFC Editor The IANA The IAB In addition, members of the IETF Secretariat are subscribed to the mailing list and present in the IESG meetings as needed in order to serve as a support function. IESG decisions are made by the IETF Chair and the Area Directors. All IESG members can participate in the IESG's discussions.
about the specification's subject matter; this has to happen with due notice and opportunity for community feedback. o IESG actions in areas where the IESG has the authority to take action. This does not need special rules. o AD actions taken with the advice and consent of the IESG; the IESG is expected to be kept informed, and gives comment, but the authority to act is delegated to the AD. o AD action; cases where an AD can take independent action without needing to consult the IESG first. The IESG may reach decisions by face to face meeting, teleconferencing, Internet communication, or any combination of the above.
BCP 25 , section 2; this document does not repeat the text there, but gives additional details of IESG actions. A Working Group (WG) may be requested by members of the IETF community, who address the request to an AD that the requesters feel is the appropriate AD for the task, or the formation can be initiated by an AD. The IESG may assign the prospective working group to another AD and/or Area if the IESG thinks that is best. The AD is responsible for ensuring that a working group being chartered fulfills the criteria for WG formation given in BCP 25. The charter is the result of a negotiation between the AD and the community of interest, with review and advice from the rest of the IESG and the IAB. The AD, with the advice of the IESG, is also responsible for selecting chairs for the working group which the AD thinks will be up to the task. All charters for proposed working groups are announced to the community at large when the IESG thinks the charter is ready for review, but prior to the IESGs final decision on chartering the WG. The final decision to charter a WG is an IESG decision. The Birds of a Feather (BOF) procedure described in BCP 25 , section 2.4 also requires approval from the relevant AD (the one who got the request or the AD that the IESG thinks is the right AD to manage the task). A BOF is not required to start a working group, and a BOF may be held without the purpose of creating a working group. BOFs are also often discussed with the IESG and IAB.
BCP 25 , section 6.7. The role of managing a WG is divided between the WG Chair(s) and the AD. A WG chair has to manage the working group "from the inside", dealing with individuals, drafts, proposals, meetings and email lists, and has full power and responsibility to do that. An AD manages a WG "from the outside", dealing with charters, chairs, cross-WG and cross-area relationships and so on. The AD is responsible for making sure the working groups stay focused on the charter tasks, make forward progress, are coordinated with the rest of the area, and are coordinated with the rest of the IETF. The ADs help each other with maintaining cross-area coordination. In a well functioning working group, main responsibility for these things rests with the chairs; the AD will normally be able to concentrate on supporting the working group chairs' work. When a WG finds that it is essential that work gets done which is not on its charter, the AD, consulting with the rest of the IESG as required, is responsible for figuring out whether to add it to their charter, add it to another group's charter, task someone outside the WG to work on it, or initiate creation of another WG. Substantive changes to the body of a WG's charter require the same type of process as chartering - see BCP 25 , section 5. The Area Director is also responsible for picking and, when necessary, replacing working group chairs. This is done in consultation with the IESG, but the decision is made by the responsible AD.
BCP 26 ), or publish web pages with commonly used guidelines. Rules - stuff that the community is expected to follow - are decided by IETF consensus processing and commonly published as BCP RFCs. Guidance to the community that is of a more ephemeral and less normative nature is decided by the IESG and published on the IESG's Web pages. BCP 25 , section 7.5 and 8, and BCP 9 , section 6. The IESG role is one of review and approval. BCP 9 , section 6. Such documents are submitted to the IESG, and are then assigned to a relevant AD. The IESG is responsible for determining: o Whether or not the specification is appropriate for the standards track o Whether or not the specification needs review by one or more existing WGs o Whether or not the quality of the specification is adequate The IESG will either approve or disapprove of the publication of the document on the standards track; no document can be published on the standards track without IESG approval.
The IESG may decide that a document submitted for standards-track publication should instead be published as Experimental or Informational, or that a document submitted for Proposed standard should be published as a BCP, or vice versa. BCP 9 , section 4.2.3 and BCP 25 , section 8. The IESG is asked to review all documents submitted in this fashion for conflicts with the IETF standards process or work done in the IETF community; this is a modification of the BCP 9  procedure, and documented in BCP 25 , section 8. The IESG may recommend that the document be published as-is, that it be reviewed by a working group, that the document be published with an IESG note indicating issues such as conflict with the IETF standards process, or may recommend that the document not be published. If the document is referred to a WG, the WG can recommend that the document be adopted as a WG document, that it be published (possibly with comments), or that the IESG recommend to the RFC Editor that it not be published. The responsible AD for the WG is responsible for getting a response from the WG in a timely manner. An AD, in consultation with the author, may choose to put an individual's document directly before the IESG, without waiting for the document to be submitted through the RFC Editor. This document will then be processed in the same fashion as an Informational or Experimental document from a working group.
BCP 25 , section 1). The area structure is defined by the IESG, and the IESG can add areas, redefine areas, merge areas, change the number of ADs assigned to an area, or close down areas. Changes to the area structure affect the IETF in many ways; decisions to change the area structure are taken in consultation with the community. When changing the area structure, the IESG can decide which members are responsible for new and changed areas, including making one sitting AD responsible for multiple areas, but the IESG can only add new members through the nomcom process. The primary task of area management is handled by one or two Area Directors per area. An AD may be advised by one or more directorates, which are created, selected, chaired and if necessary disbanded by the AD (BCP 25 , section 1). Directorates may be specific to an area, specific to a technology, or chartered in some other fashion. The ADs for an area are jointly responsible for making sure the WGs in the area are well coordinated, that there is coverage for the technologies needed in the area, and that the challenges most important to the Internet in that area are indeed being worked on. The IESG decides which areas working groups belong to.
RFC 2850 ). However, when technical cooperation is required, it is essential that the work be coordinated with the relevant ADs. This often means that ADs will function in a liaison role with other organizations, but the IAB may decide that the same function may also be done by others when it decides that this is more appropriate. BCP 9 , section 6.5. Most decisions by a working group chair can be appealed to the AD, and decisions by an individual AD can be appealed to the IESG. Decisions of the IESG can be appealed to the IAB; for this reason, the IAB chair and the liaison from the IAB recuse themselves from discussion of appeals to the IESG.
 Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.  Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 2418, September 1998.  Galvin, J., "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall Committees", BCP 10, RFC 2727, February 2000.  Chapin, L., "The Internet Standards Process", RFC 1310, March 1992.  Huitema, C. and P. Gross, "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 2", RFC 1602, March 1994.  Huizer, E. and D. Crocker, "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures", RFC 1603, March 1994.  Postel, J., "Addendum to RFC 1602 -- Variance Procedure", BCP 2, RFC 1871, November 1995.  Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 2434, October 1998.  http://www.ietf.org  Carpenter, B., Ed., "Charter of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850, May 2000.
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