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FCW : October 2014
After the Sept. 11 disaster, the lack of appropriate information sharing within the federal government com- munity was highlighted as a key weak- ness by the 9/11 Commission. Its final report states that “agencies uphold a ‘need-to-know’ culture of information protection rather than promoting a ‘need-to-share’ culture of integration.” Since then, there have been many changes, with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence being most significant and visible. But other changes have been implemented that have sought to help, including the Patriot Act’s removal of some barriers that once restricted the sharing of information between the law enforcement and intelligence communities. In addition, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004 established the multi-agency National Counterterrorism Center to analyze and integrate all intelligence pertaining to terrorism, including threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad. And a collection of 78 fusion cen- ters have been established throughout the U.S. to physically bring together federal, state and local law enforce- ment and first responders to deal with threats and disaster conditions. In terms of information sharing, IRTPA also mandated that the presi- dent establish an Information Sharing Environment (ISE) as “a decentral- ized, distributed, and coordinated environment [that] to the greatest extent practicable...connects exist- ing systems,...builds upon existing systems’ capabilities currently in use across the government,...facilitates the sharing of information at and across all levels of security,...and incorpo- rates protections for individuals’ pri- vacy and civil liberties.” Many federal agencies participate in and contribute to ISE, but the law further mandates that a program man- ager be designated to oversee it and that an Information Sharing Council be formed to advise the president and the program manager on the development of ISE policies, proce- dures, guidelines and standards, and to ensure proper coordination among federal departments and agencies par- ticipating in ISE. A decade later, how has ISE fared? Can we effectively rate the govern- ment’s improvements to intelligence, law enforcement and counterterror- ism information sharing, and have they been made in a way that pro- tects privacy and our civil liberties? Or the more basic question: Are we safer now than before Sept. 11, 2001? From a structural perspective, the program manager for ISE, Kshemen- dra Paul, and his organization report to the director of national intelligence but carry out the mission of ISE by coordinating across federal, state, local and tribal government organiza- tions. The Information Sharing Coun- cil has been recast as the Informa- tion Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee (ISA IPC), which still carries out the primary coordi- nation role. In 2007, then-President George W. Bush issued the first National Strat- egy for Information Sharing. President Barack Obama issued the updated National Strategy for Information BY RICHARD A. SPIRES A decade after the 9/11 Commission identified agencies’ reluctance to share information as a dangerous shortcoming, the government is moving in the right direction Information sharing: Are we safer? CIOPerspective Richard A. Spires has been in the IT field for more than 30 years, with eight years in federal govern- ment service. Most recently, he served as CIO at the Department of Homeland Security. He is now CEO of Resilient Network Systems. 36 October 2014 FCW.COM
September 30, 2014
November and December 2014