Network Working Group
Request for Comments: 4071
BCP: 101
Category: Best Current Practice
R. Austein, Ed.
B. Wijnen, Ed.
Lucent Technologies
April 2005

Structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)

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 © The Internet Society (2005).


This document describes the structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) as an activity housed within the Internet Society (ISOC). It defines the roles and responsibilities of the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), the IETF Administrative Director (IAD), and ISOC in the fiscal and administrative support of the IETF standards process. It also defines the membership and selection rules for the IAOC.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2.  Definitions and Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       2.1.  Alphabet Soup  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       2.2.  Principles of the IASA, IETF, and ISOC Relationship  . .  4
       2.3.  Community Consensus and Grant of Authority . . . . . . .  5
       2.4.  Termination and Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
       2.5.  Effective Date for Commencement of IASA  . . . . . . . .  5
   3.  Structure of the IASA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
       3.1.  IAD Responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       3.2.  IAOC Responsibilities  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       3.3.  Relationship of the IAOC to Existing IETF Leadership . . 10
       3.4.  IAOC Decision Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       3.5.  Review and Appeal of IAD and IAOC Decision . . . . . . . 10
   4.  IAOC Membership, Selection and Accountability  . . . . . . . . 11
       4.1.  Initial IAOC Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   5.  IASA Funding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       5.1.  Cost Center Accounting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       5.2.  IETF Meeting Revenues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       5.3.  Designated Donations, Monetary and In-Kind . . . . . . . 14
       5.4.  Other ISOC Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       5.5.  IASA Expenses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       5.6.  Operating Reserve  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   6.  IASA Budget Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   7.  ISOC Responsibilities for IASA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   8.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   9.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   10. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
   11. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       11.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       11.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

1. Introduction

This document describes the structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) as an activity housed within the Internet Society (ISOC). It defines the roles and responsibilities of the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), the IETF Administrative Director (IAD), and ISOC in the fiscal and administrative support of the IETF standards process. It also defines the membership and selection rules for the IAOC.

The IETF undertakes its technical activities as an ongoing, open, consensus-based process. This document defines an administrative support structure intended to be responsive to the administrative needs of the IETF technical community, and it describes how that support structure fits under ISOC's organizational umbrella. This document does not affect the ISOC-IETF working relationship as it relates to standards development or the communication of technical advice relevant to the policy and educational goals of ISOC.

The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) provides the administrative structure required to support the IETF standards process and to support the IETF's technical activities. As of the time at which this document was written, this included the work of IETF working groups, the IESG, the IAB, and the IRTF. Should the IETF standards process at some future date come to include other technical activities, the IAOC is responsible for developing plans to provide administrative support for them. Such support includes, as appropriate, undertaking or contracting for the work described in [RFC3716], including IETF document and data management, IETF meetings, and any operational agreements or contracts with the RFC Editor and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The IASA is also ultimately responsible for the financial activities associated with IETF administrative support, such as collecting IETF meeting fees, paying invoices, managing budgets and financial accounts, and so forth.

The IASA is responsible for ensuring that the IETF's administrative needs are met, and met well. The IETF does not expect the IASA to undertake the bulk of this work directly; rather, the IETF expects the IASA to contract this work from others and to manage these contractual relationships to achieve efficiency, transparency, and cost effectiveness.

The IASA is distinct from IETF-related technical functions, such as the RFC Editor, the IANA, and the IETF standards process itself. The IASA has no influence on the technical decisions of the IETF or on the technical contents of IETF work. Note, however, that this in no way prevents people who form part of the IASA from participating as individuals in IETF technical activities.

2. Definitions and Principles

This section describes terminology and underlying principles used in the rest of this document.

2.1. Alphabet Soup

Although most of the terms, abbreviations, and acronyms used in this document are reasonably well known, first-time readers may find this alphabet soup confusing. This section therefore attempts to provide a quick summary.


Internet Architecture Board (see [RFC2026], [RFC2850]).


IETF Administrative Director, defined by this document.


IETF Administrative Oversight Committee, defined by this document.


IETF Administrative Support Activity, defined by this document.


Internet Engineering Steering Group (see [RFC2026], [RFC3710]).


Internet Engineering Task Force (see [RFC3233]).


Internet Society (see [RFC2031] and [ISOC]).

2.2. Principles of the IASA, IETF, and ISOC Relationship

This section attempts to describe principles underlying the mechanisms described in this document.

  1. The IETF intends to establish a structure (the IASA) in order to have IETF administrative functions managed appropriately, according to good administrative, fiscal, and management principles. The IASA includes the IAD and the IAOC and shall be housed within ISOC.
  1. The IAD and IAOC shall not have any authority over the IETF standards development activities. This document does not modify ISOC's other roles related to the IETF standards process.
  1. The IAD and IAOC, in cooperation with the ISOC President/CEO and staff, shall develop an annual budget for the IASA. The budget must clearly identify all expected direct and indirect expenditures related to the IASA. ISOC, through its normal procedures, shall evaluate and approve the IASA budget as part of ISOC's own budget process and commit to ensuring funds to support the approved budget.
  1. Responsibility for the evaluation, review, and negotiation of contracts and other IETF administrative and support agreements and other expenditures of funds under the IASA shall rest with the IAD, operating in accordance with policies and procedures set by the IAOC and consistent with ISOC operating policies.
  1. Once funds or in-kind donations have been credited to the IASA accounts, they shall be irrevocably allocated to the support of the IETF.
  1. There shall be a detailed public accounting to separately identify all funds available to and all expenditures relating to the IETF and to the IASA, including any donations, of funds or in kind, received by ISOC for IETF-related activities. In-kind donations shall only be accepted at the direction of the IAD and IAOC.
  1. Amongst the IETF, IASA and ISOC, the IETF, through the IASA, shall have a perpetual right to use, display, distribute, reproduce, modify, and create derivatives of all software and data created in support of IETF activities.
  1. The IASA, in cooperation with ISOC, shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that sufficient reserves exist to keep the IETF operational in the case of unexpected events such as income shortfalls.

The remainder of this document contains details based on the above principles.

2.3. Community Consensus and Grant of Authority

The IETF is a consensus-based group, and authority to act on behalf of the community requires a high degree of consensus and the continued consent of the community. After a careful process of deliberation, a broad-based community consensus emerged to house the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) within the Internet Society. This document reflects that consensus.

2.4. Termination and Change

Any change to this agreement shall require a similar level of community consensus and deliberation and shall be reflected by a subsequent Best Current Practice (BCP) document.

2.5. Effective Date for Commencement of IASA

The procedures in this document shall become operational after this document has been approved by the process defined in BCP 9 [RFC2026], including its acceptance as an IETF process BCP by the ISOC Board of Trustees, and after the ISOC Board of Trustees has confirmed its acceptance of ISOC's responsibilities under the terms herein described.

3. Structure of the IASA

The IASA structure is designed to ensure accountability and transparency of the IETF administrative and fiscal activities to the IETF community. The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) directs and oversees the IASA. The IAOC consists of volunteers, all chosen directly or indirectly by the IETF community, as well as appropriate ex officio members from ISOC and IETF leadership. The IAOC shall be accountable to the IETF community for the effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency of the IASA.

The IASA consists initially of a single full-time ISOC employee, the IETF Administrative Director (IAD), who is entitled to act on behalf of the IASA at the direction of the IAOC. The IAD is likely to draw on financial, legal, and administrative support furnished by ISOC support staff or consultants. Costs for ISOC support staff and consultants are allocated based on actual expenses or on some other allocation model determined by consultation between the IAOC and ISOC.

Although the IAD is an ISOC employee, he or she works under the direction of the IAOC. A committee of the IAOC is responsible for hiring and firing the IAD, for reviewing the IAD's performance, and for setting the compensation of the IAD. The members of this committee are appointed by the IAOC and consist at minimum of the ISOC President, the IETF Chair, and one of the Nomcom-appointed IAOC members.

The IAOC determines what IETF administrative functions are to be performed, and how or where they should be performed (whether internally within the IASA or by outside organizations), so as to maintain an optimal balance of functional performance and cost of each such function. The IAOC should document all such decisions, and the justification for them, for review by the community. Each function should be reviewed on a regular basis using the assumption that, absent such justification, the function is either unnecessary or, if necessary, it is overstaffed, rather than using an assumption that anything that has been done in the past is still necessary; each function should be adjusted as needed given the result of this review.

The IAD is responsible for negotiating and maintaining contracts or equivalent instruments with outside organizations, and for providing any coordination necessary to make sure that the IETF administrative support functions are covered properly. All functions, whether contracted to outside organizations or performed internally within the IASA, must be clearly specified and documented with well-defined deliverables, service level agreements, and transparent accounting for the cost of such functions.

The IASA is responsible for managing all intellectual property rights (IPR), including but not limited to trademarks, and copyrights that belong to the IETF. The IASA is also responsible for managing the ownership, registration, and administration of relevant domain names. The IASA is responsible for undertaking any and all required actions on behalf of the IETF to obtain, protect, and manage the rights that the IETF needs to carry out its work.

If the IASA cannot comply with the procedures described in this document for legal, accounting, or practical reasons, the IAOC shall report that fact to the community, along with the variant procedure that the IAOC intends to follow. If the problem is a long-term one, the IAOC shall ask the IETF to update this document to reflect the changed procedure.

3.1. IAD Responsibilities

The IAD is responsible for working with the IAOC and others to understand the administrative requirements of the IETF, and for managing the IASA to meet those needs. This includes determining the structure of the IASA effort, establishing an operating budget, negotiating contracts with service providers, managing the business relationship with those providers, and establishing mechanisms to track their performance. The IAD may also manage other contractors or ISOC employees (such as support staff) as necessary, when such contractors or employees are engaged in IASA-related work.

The IAD is responsible for running the IASA in an open and transparent manner, and for producing regular monthly, quarterly, and annual financial and operational updates for IAOC and IETF community review.

The IAD is responsible for administering the IETF finances, for managing separate financial accounts for the IASA, and for establishing and administering the IASA budget. The IAD (with IAOC approval, as appropriate) should have signing authority consistent with carrying out IASA work effectively, efficiently and independently, taking into account ISOC's financial and approval controls. If there are any problems regarding the level of financial approval granted to the IAD, the IAOC and ISOC shall work out a policy that is mutually agreeable, and they shall do so within a reasonable time frame.

The IAD negotiates service contracts, with input, as appropriate, from other bodies, including legal advice, and with review, as appropriate, by the IAOC. The IAOC should establish guidelines for what level of review is expected based on contract type, size, cost, or duration. ISOC executes contracts on behalf of the IASA, after whatever review ISOC requires to ensure that the contracts meet ISOC's legal and financial guidelines.

The IAD shall ensure that contracts entered into by ISOC on behalf of the IASA and/or the IETF (an "IASA Contract") that provide for the creation, development, modification, or storage of any data (including, without limitation, any data relating to IETF membership, documents, archives, mailing lists, correspondence, financial records, personnel records and the like) ("Data"), grant to ISOC the perpetual, irrevocable right, on behalf of IASA and IETF, to use, display, distribute, reproduce, modify and create derivatives of such Data. ISOC will permit IASA and its designee(s) to have sole control and custodianship of such Data, and ISOC will not utilize or access such Data in connection with any ISOC function other than IETF without the written consent of the IAD.

The IAD shall ensure that personal data collected for legitimate purposes of the IASA are protected appropriately; at minimum, such data must be protected to a degree consistent with relevant legislation and applicable privacy policies.

If an IASA Contract provides for the creation, development, or modification of any software (including, without limitation, any search tools, indexing tools, and the like) ("Developed Software"), then the IAD shall, whenever reasonable and practical, ensure that such contract either (a) grants ownership of such Developed Software to ISOC, or (b) grants ISOC a perpetual, irrevocable right, on behalf of IASA and IETF, to use, display, distribute, reproduce, modify, and create derivatives of such Software (including, without limitation, pursuant to an open source style license). It is preferred that Developed Software be provided and licensed for IASA and IETF use in source code form, with no ongoing payments. ISOC will permit the IASA and its designee(s) to have sole control and custodianship of such Developed Software. The foregoing rights are not required in the case of off-the-shelf or other commercially-available software that is not developed at the expense of ISOC.

If an IASA Contract relates to the licensing of third-party software, the IAD shall ensure that such license expressly permits use of such software for and on behalf of the IASA and/or the IETF, as applicable, and that such license is transferable in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 (Removability).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the IAD can enter into different terms if doing so is in the best interest of the IETF and upon approval of the IAOC.

The IAD and IAOC are responsible for making all business decisions regarding the IASA. In particular, the ISOC Board of Trustees shall not have direct influence over the choice of IASA contractors or IETF meeting sponsors. This restriction is meant to enforce the separation between fund-raising and the actual operation of the standards process.

The IAD prepares an annual budget, which is subject to review and approval by the IAOC. The IAD is responsible for presenting this budget to the ISOC Board of Trustees, as part of ISOC's annual financial planning process. As described elsewhere in this document, the IAOC is responsible for ensuring the budget's suitability for meeting the IETF community's administrative needs, but the IAOC does not bear fiduciary responsibility for ISOC. The ISOC Board of Trustees therefore needs to review and understand the budget and planned activity in enough detail to carry out its fiduciary responsibility properly. The IAD is responsible for managing this process of review and approval. The IAD sees to it that the IASA publishes its complete approved budget to the IETF community each year.

3.2. IAOC Responsibilities

The IAOC's role is to provide appropriate direction to the IAD, to review the IAD's regular reports, and to oversee IASA functions to ensure that the administrative needs of the IETF community are being properly met. The IAOC's mission is not to be engaged in the day- to-day administrative work of the IASA, but rather to provide appropriate direction, oversight, and approval.

Therefore, the IAOC's responsibilities are as follows:

  • To select the IAD and to provide high-level review and direction for his or her work. This task should be handled by a sub- committee, as described above.
  • To review the IAD's plans and contracts to ensure that they will meet the administrative needs of the IETF.
  • To track whether the IASA functions are meeting the IETF community's administrative needs, and to work with the IAD to determine a plan for corrective action if they are not.
  • To review the IAD's budget proposals to ensure that they will meet the IETF's needs, and to review the IAD's regular financial reports.
  • To ensure that the IASA is run in a transparent and accountable manner. Although the day-to-day work should be delegated to the IAD and others, the IAOC is responsible for ensuring that IASA finances and operational status are tracked appropriately, and that monthly, quarterly, and annual financial and operational reports are published to the IETF community.
  • To designate, in consultation with the IAB and the IESG, the person or people who carry out the tasks that other IETF process documents say are carried out by the IETF Executive Director.

The IAOC's role is to direct and review, not to perform, the work of the IAD and IASA. The IAOC holds periodic teleconferences and face- to-face meetings as needed to carry out the IAOC's duties efficiently and effectively.

If there is no IAD or if the IAD is unavailable, the IAOC may temporarily assign the IAD's duties to individual members of the IAOC.

3.3. Relationship of the IAOC to Existing IETF Leadership

The IAOC is directly accountable to the IETF community for the performance of the IASA. However, the nature of the IAOC's work involves treating the IESG and IAB as major internal customers of the administrative support services. The IAOC and the IAD should not consider their work successful unless the IESG and IAB are also satisfied with the administrative support that the IETF is receiving.

3.4. IAOC Decision Making

The IAOC attempts to reach consensus on all decisions. If the IAOC cannot achieve a consensus decision, then the IAOC may decide by voting.

The IAOC decides the details about its decision-making rules, including its rules for quorum, conflict of interest, and breaking of ties. These rules shall be made public.

All IAOC decisions shall be recorded in IAOC minutes, and IAOC minutes shall be published in a timely fashion.

3.5. Review and Appeal of IAD and IAOC Decision

The IAOC is directly accountable to the IETF community for the performance of the IASA. In order to achieve this, the IAOC and IAD will ensure that guidelines are developed for regular operational decision making. Where appropriate, these guidelines should be developed with public input. In all cases, they must be made public.

If a member of the IETF community questions whether a decision or action of the IAD or the IAOC has been undertaken in accordance with IETF BCPs or IASA operational guidelines, or questions whether the IASA has created and maintained appropriate guidelines, he or she may ask the IAOC for a formal review of the decision or action.

The request for review should be addressed to the IAOC chair and should include a description of the decision or action to be reviewed, an explanation of how, in the requestor's opinion, the decision or action violates the BCPs or operational guidelines, and a suggestion for how the situation could be rectified. All requests for review shall be posted publicly, and the IAOC is expected to respond to these requests within a reasonable period, typically within 90 days. It is up to the IAOC to determine what type of review and response is required, based on the nature of the review request. Based on the results of the review, the IAOC may choose to overturn their own decision, to change their operational guidelines to prevent further misunderstandings, to take other action as appropriate, or just to publish the review result and take no other action.

If a member of the community is not satisfied with the IAOC's response to his or her review request, he or she may escalate the issue by appealing the decision or action to the IAB, using the appeals procedures outlined in RFC 2026 [RFC2026]. If he or she is not satisfied with the IAB response, he or she can escalate the issue to the ISOC Board of Trustees, as described in RFC 2026.

The reviewing body (the IAB or ISOC Board of Trustees) shall review the decision of the IAD or IAOC to determine whether it was made in accordance with existing BCPs and operational guidelines. As a result of this review, the reviewing body may recommend to the community that the BCPs governing IAOC actions should be changed. The reviewing body may also advise the IAOC to modify existing operational guidelines to avoid similar issues in the future and/or it may advise the IAOC to re-consider their decision or action. It may also recommend that no action be taken, based on the review.

In exceptional cases, when no other recourse seems reasonable, the reviewing body may overturn or reverse a non-binding decision or action of the IAOC. This should be done only after careful consideration and consultation with the IAOC regarding the ramifications of this action. In no circumstances may the IAB or ISOC Board of Trustees overturn a decision of the IAOC that involves a binding contract or overturn a personnel-related action (such as hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, performance reviews, salary adjustments, etc.).

4. IAOC Membership, Selection and Accountability

The IAOC shall consist of eight voting members who shall be selected as follows:

  • Two members appointed by the IETF Nominations Committee (NomCom);
  • One member appointed by the IESG;
  • One member appointed by the IAB;
  • One member appointed by the ISOC Board of Trustees;
  • The IETF Chair (ex officio);
  • The IAB Chair (ex officio);
  • The ISOC President/CEO (ex officio).

The IETF Administrative Director also serves, ex officio, as a non- voting member of the IAOC.

The IAOC may also choose to invite liaisons from other groups, but it is not required to do so; the IAOC decides whether to have a liaison to any particular group. Any such liaisons are non-voting. Responsibility for selecting the individual filling a particular liaison role lies with the body from which the IAOC has requested the liaison.

Subject to paragraph 2 of Section 4.1, appointed members of the IAOC serve two-year terms. IAOC terms normally end at the end of the first IETF meeting of a year.

The members of the IAOC shall select one of its appointed voting members to serve as the chair of the IAOC. The term of the IAOC chair shall be one year from the time of selection or the remaining time of his or her tenure on the IAOC, whichever is less. An individual may serve any number of terms as chair, if selected by the IAOC.

The Chair serves at the pleasure of the IAOC and may be removed from that position at any time by a vote of 2/3 of the voting IAOC members, not counting the IAOC chair.

The chair of the IAOC shall have the authority to manage the activities and meetings of the IAOC.

The two NomCom-appointed IAOC members are chosen using the procedures described in RFC 3777 [RFC3777]. For the initial IAOC selection, the IESG will provide the list of desired qualifications for these positions; in later years, the IAOC will provide this qualification list. The IESG will serve as the confirming body for IAOC appointments by the NomCom.

While there are no hard rules regarding how the IAB and the IESG should select members of the IAOC, such appointees need not be current IAB or IESG members (and probably should not be, if only to avoid overloading the existing leadership). The IAB and IESG should choose people with some knowledge of contracts and financial procedures, who are familiar with the administrative support needs of the IAB, the IESG, or the IETF standards process. The IAB and IESG should follow a fairly open process for these selections, perhaps with an open call for nominations or a period of public comment on the candidates. The procedure for IAB selection of ISOC Board of Trustees [RFC3677] might be a good model for how this could work. After the IETF gains some experience with IAOC selection, these selection mechanisms should be documented more formally.

Although the IAB, the IESG, and the ISOC Board of Trustees choose some members of the IAOC, those members do not directly represent the bodies that chose them. All members of the IAOC are accountable directly to the IETF community. To receive direct feedback from the community, the IAOC holds an open meeting at least once per year at an IETF meeting. This may take the form of an open IAOC plenary or a working meeting held during an IETF meeting slot. The form and contents of this meeting are left to the discretion of the IAOC Chair. The IAOC should also consider open mailing lists or other means to establish open communication with the community.

IAOC members are subject to recall in the event that an IAOC member abrogates his or her duties or acts against the best interests of the IETF community. Any appointed IAOC member, including any appointed by the IAB, IESG, or ISOC Board of Trustees, may be recalled using the recall procedure defined in RFC 3777 [RFC3777]. IAOC members are not, however, subject to recall by the bodies that appointed them.

If a vacancy occurs among the appointed members, this is filled by the appointing body for that position according to its procedures.

The IAOC members shall not receive any compensation from the IASA, ISOC, or IETF for their services as members of the IAOC.

The IAOC shall set and publish rules covering reimbursement of expenses, and such reimbursement shall generally be for exceptional cases only.

4.1. Initial IAOC Selection

The initial IAOC selection will start after this document is approved as a BCP by the IESG and accepted by the ISOC Board of Trustees. The IESG, IAB, and ISOC Board of Trustees should make their selections within 45 days of BCP approval, and the NomCom should make their selections as quickly as possible while complying with the documented NomCom procedures. The IAOC will become active as soon as a majority (three or more) of the appointed members have been selected.

Initially, the IESG and the ISOC Board of Trustees will make one-year appointments, the IAB will make a two-year appointment, and the NomCom will make one one-year appointment and one two-year appointment. This will establish a pattern in which approximately half of the IAOC is selected each year.

5. IASA Funding

The IASA manages money from three sources:

  1. IETF meeting revenues;
   2.  Designated donations to ISOC (both monetary and in-kind);
  1. Other ISOC support.

Note that the goal is to achieve and maintain a viable IETF support function based on available funding sources. The IETF community expects the IAOC and ISOC to work together to attain that goal.

5.1. Cost Center Accounting

Funds managed by the IASA shall be accounted for in a separate set of general ledger accounts within the IASA Cost Center. In the remainder of this document, these general ledger accounts are termed "IASA accounts". A periodic summary of the IASA accounts shall be reported in the form of standard financial statements that reflect the income, expenses, assets, and liabilities of the IASA.

The IAOC and ISOC shall agree upon and publish procedures for reporting and auditing of these accounts.

Note that ISOC in consultation with the IAOC can decide to structure the IASA accounting differently in the future within the constraints outlined in Section 7.

5.2. IETF Meeting Revenues

Meeting revenues are an important source of funds for IETF functions. The IAD, in consultation with the IAOC, sets the meeting fees as part of the budgeting process. All meeting revenues shall be credited to the appropriate IASA accounts.

5.3. Designated Donations, Monetary and In-Kind

Donations are an essential component of funding. The IASA undertakes no direct fund-raising activities. This establishes a practice of separating IETF administrative and standards activities from fund- raising activities, and it helps ensure that no undue influence may be ascribed to those from whom funds are raised.

ISOC shall create and maintain appropriate structures and programs to coordinate donations intended to support the work of the IETF, and these shall include mechanisms for both in-kind and direct contributions to the work supported by IASA. Since ISOC will be the sole entity through whom donations may be made to the work of the IETF, ISOC shall ensure that those programs are not unduly restrictive. ISOC shall maintain programs that allow for designated donations to the IETF.

In-kind resources are owned by the ISOC on behalf of the IETF and shall be reported and accounted for in a manner that identifies them as such. Designated monetary donations shall be credited to the appropriate IASA accounts.

5.4. Other ISOC Support

Other ISOC support shall be based on the budget process as specified in Section 6, which includes deciding when ISOC monetary support is to be credited to the IASA accounts.

All ISOC support, no matter how it is delivered, shall be reported in the IASA financial reports.

5.5. IASA Expenses

The IASA exists to support the IETF. Funds designated for the IASA shall be used solely to support IETF activities and for no other purposes.

5.6. Operating Reserve

As an initial guideline and in normal operating circumstances, the IASA should have an operating reserve for its activities sufficient to cover 6 months of non-meeting operational expenses, plus twice the recent average for meeting contract guarantees. The IASA, in cooperation with ISOC, shall establish detailed targets for a reserve fund to cover normal operating expenses and meeting expenses, in accordance with prudent planning and as part of the budget process.

The IASA expects ISOC to use reasonable efforts to build and provide that operational reserve, through whatever mechanisms ISOC deems appropriate.

If the IASA accounts accumulate a surplus, ISOC may count that as part of the reserve.

6. IASA Budget Process

While the IASA sets a budget for the IETF's administrative needs, its budget process clearly needs to be closely coordinated with ISOC's. The specific timeline shall be established each year by IASA and ISOC. As an example, a general annual timeline for budgeting is:

July 1: The IAD presents a budget proposal (prepared in consultation

with ISOC staff) for the following fiscal year, with 3-year projections, to the IAOC.

August 1: The IAOC approves the budget proposal for IETF purposes,

after any appropriate revisions. As the ISOC President is part of the IAOC, the IAOC should have a preliminary indication of how the budget will fit with ISOC's own budgetary expectations. The budget proposal is passed to the ISOC Board of Trustees for review in accordance with its fiduciary duty.

September 1: The ISOC Board of Trustees approves the budget proposal

provisionally. During the next 2 months, the budget may be revised to be integrated in ISOC's overall budgeting process.

November 1: Final budget to the ISOC Board for approval.

The dates described above are examples and are subject to change. They will most likely be modified each year based on the dates of the second and third IETF meetings of that year. They also need to be synchronized with the ISOC budgeting process.

The IAD shall provide monthly accountings of expenses and shall update expenditures forecasts every quarter. This may require adjustment of the IASA budget. If so, the revised budget will need to be approved by the IAOC, the ISOC President/CEO and, if necessary, the ISOC Board of Trustees.

7. ISOC Responsibilities for IASA

Within ISOC, support for the IASA shall meet the following goals:

Transparency: The IETF community shall have complete visibility into

the financial and legal structure of the ISOC activities that are related to, but not part of, the IASA standards support activity. In particular, a detailed budget for the entire related ISOC activity, quarterly financial reports, and audited annual financial reports shall all be available to the IETF community. In addition, key contract material and MOUs shall also be publicly available, subject to any reasonable confidentiality obligations approved by the IAOC.

Unification: As part of this arrangement, ISOC's sponsorship of the

RFC Editor, IAB and IESG shall be managed as part of the IASA under the IAOC.

Independence: The IASA shall be distinct from other ISOC activities.

ISOC shall support the IASA through the mechanisms specified in this document and its successors.

Support: ISOC shall work with the IAD and IAOC to ensure appropriate

financial support for the IASA, following the mechanisms described in this document and its successors.

Removability: While there is no current plan to transfer the legal

and financial home of the IASA to another corporation, the IASA shall be structured to enable a clean transition in the event that the IETF community decides that such a transition is required and documents its consensus in a formal document (currently called a BCP). In such a case, the IAOC shall give ISOC a minimum of six months' notice before the transition formally occurs. During that period, the IETF and ISOC shall work together to create a smooth transition that does not result in any significant service outages or missed IETF meetings. All contracts executed by ISOC on behalf of the IASA shall either include a clause allowing termination by ISOC with six months notice, or be transferable to another corporation in the event that the IASA transitions away from ISOC. To the extent allowed by law, any balance in the IASA accounts, any IETF-specific intellectual property rights, and any IETF- specific data and tools shall also transition to the new entity. Other terms shall be negotiated between the IETF and ISOC.

Within the constraints outlined above, all other details of how to structure this activity within ISOC (for instance, as a cost center, a division, or an affiliate) shall be determined by ISOC in consultation with the IAOC.

8. Security Considerations

This document describes the structure of the IETF's administrative support activity. It introduces no security considerations for the Internet.

9. IANA Considerations

This document has no IANA considerations in the traditional sense. However, some of the information in this document may affect how the IETF standards process interfaces with the IANA, so the IANA may be interested in the contents.

10. Acknowledgements

The editors would like to thank everyone who provided feedback on this document or any of its predecessors back to the original "Scenario O" e-mail message. In particular, the editors would like to thank: Bernard Aboba, Jari Arkko, Fred Baker, Scott Bradner, Scott Brim, Brian Carpenter, Jorge Contreras, Dave Crocker, Elwyn Davies, Spencer Dawkins, Avri Doria, Tony Hain, Joel Halpern, Ted Hardie, Sam Hartman, Russel Housley, Geoff Huston, Jeff Hutzelman, John Klensin, Valdis Kletnieks, Eliot Lear, Henrik Levkowetz, Kurt Erik Lindqvist, John Loughney. Carl Malamud, Allison Mankin, Tom Petch, Eric Rescorla, Pete Resnick, Glenn Ricart, Jonne Soininen, Lynn St. Amour, and Michael StJohns.

Special thanks are due to Leslie Daigle and Margaret Wasserman, who wrote the original "Scenario O" message and edited the earliest versions of this document.

Special thanks are also due to Henrik Levkowetz for kindly volunteering to maintain the issue tracking system associated with this document.

Last, special thanks are due to Harald Alvestrand, for leading the search for consensus on the IETF mailing list.

No doubt the above list is incomplete. We apologize to anyone whom we left out.

This document was written using the xml2rfc tool described in RFC 2629 [RFC2629].

11. References

11.1. Normative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.
   [RFC3716]  IAB Advisory Committee, "The IETF in the Large:
              Administration and Execution", RFC 3716, March 2004.
   [RFC3777]  Galvin, J., "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and
              Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall
              Committees", BCP 10, RFC 3777, June 2004.

11.2. Informative References

   [ISOC]     Internet Society, "Internet Society By-Laws", February
   [RFC2031]  Huizer, E., "IETF-ISOC relationship", RFC 2031, October
   [RFC2629]  Rose, M., "Writing I-Ds and RFCs using XML", RFC 2629,
              June 1999.
   [RFC2850]  Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, "Charter of
              the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850,
              May 2000.
   [RFC3233]  Hoffman, P. and S. Bradner, "Defining the IETF", BCP 58,
              RFC 3233, February 2002.
   [RFC3677]  Daigle, L. and Internet Architecture Board, "IETF ISOC
              Board of Trustee Appointment Procedures", BCP 77, RFC
              3677, December 2003.
   [RFC3710]  Alvestrand, H., "An IESG charter", RFC 3710, February

Authors' Addresses

   Rob Austein (editor)
   Internet Systems Consortium
   950 Charter Street
   Redwood City, CA  94063


Bert Wijnen (editor)
Lucent Technologies
Schagen 33
3461 GL Linschoten

   Phone: +31-348-407-775

Full Copyright Statement

Copyright © The Internet Society (2005).

This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.


Intellectual Property

The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in this document or the extent to which any license under such rights might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has made any independent effort to identify any such rights. Information on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at

The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement this standard. Please address the information to the IETF at ietf-


Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the Internet Society.