Internet Architecture Board


The IAB Liaison Oversight program

As per our charter, ‘[t]he 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 world-wide Internet'[1]. That representation is carried out by liaison managers, who are selected from the community by the IAB. Liaison managers are overseen by individual members of the IAB who act as shepherds (see also [2]).

Firstly, the IAB would like to note that this message is not intended to propose any changes to the liaison manager/shepherd system at this time, as the IAB believes that this representation works well.

In parallel to the liaison manager/shepherd system, the IAB is operating the Liaison Oversight program (see [3]). This program has been dormant for several years, and does not have a clear role to play in liaison management as of today. The program supported the IAB in developing the framework for liaison relationships and setting the requirements for the related IT systems but these activities were completed some time ago.

As part of the IAB effort to restructure its programs, the IAB is in the process of reviewing all open programs. Given the currently unclear function and role of the IAB Oversight program, the IAB has decided to conclude the program. Again, this will not impact the liaison management as performed today.

The IAB sees liaison management as an important part of its role and has taken on responsibilities like periodically reviewing liaison relationships itself, rather than delegating that responsibility to a program. Further, the IAB serves as a contact point to the community and frequently reaches out to members of the community in order to request support for the IAB and the IETF community in its liaison activities on an as-needed basis, depending on the liaison relationship and technology in question. This process has been working well and the IAB is working on further improving it to make it more clear and transparent to the community as well as improving continuity of knowledge and knowledge transfer between the IAB and a broad range of community experts.

If during the on-going review of the liaison management process the IAB may find it necessary to have one or more programs for liaison management, e.g. to support maintenance of very active liaison relationships or to improve a specific parts of the liaison management process, the new IAB program structure has been set up to make to easy and uncomplicated to open and close programs/support groups as needed. Inline with that, the IAB believes it is the better option to create new groups with clear charters and purposeful membership, rather than potentially recycling a dormant program.

We thank the program members for their service.


Mirja Kühlewind
On behalf on the IAB

[1] RFC2850 s 2(f)

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