NEWS

Information Sharing Environment Releases Annual Report

By Laura Spadanuta

The office of the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) has released its third annual report to Congress, highlighting the office's progress on a number of ongoing initiatives.

ISE is a partnership between all levels of domestic government, the private sector, and foreign partners intended to eliminate the information "stovepiping" that contributed to the success of the 9-11 attacks, improve information sharing, and avoid information breakdowns like the situation leading up to the 9-11 attacks. Its establishment was mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

The report described the progress ISE has made toward meeting its four main goals and how it plans to continue pursuing them.

The first goal is to create a culture of sharing. In order to accomplish this, the group has partnered with the federal Office of Personnel Management to produce guidance that directs agencies to make information sharing a factor in performance appraisals. Additionally, ISE released a training module to help convert the "need to know" environments to ones based on a "responsibility to provide." And three-quarters of Federal ISE agencies have incorporated information sharing into their awards programs, according to the report.

The next goal is to reduce barriers to information sharing by improving movement of classified and controlled unclassified information.  PM-ISE and its partners are trying to reduce barriers to information sharing by issuing mandates that align securiyt clearance processes, and by spurring the Department of Homeland Security and FBI adopt a standard that creates an environment for the storage and use of classified information, among other initiatives.  The goal also takes into account privacy and civil liberties protection, through the the release of a workbook that provides an outline on security privacy. 

The third goal is improvement of information sharing between state, local, tribal, federal and international partners.  To accomplish this, PM-ISE has set guidelines for nationwide network of intelligence fusion centers and has piloted a nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting initiative. 

Institutionalizing sharing is the fourth goal, and ISE is striving to meet it by creating a common information sharing artchitecture that various government agencies have adopted, and by issuing common information sharing standards. 

The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (HR 2701) would move the PM-ISE into the Executive Office of the President from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  President Obama has threatened a veto of this bill, according to Fox News, and the administration cited this section of the bill as one of its objections.  The bill has not yet been passed.

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