Building on Prior Successes

As the IT landscape continues to evolve, addressing terrorism and related public safety threats requires greater acknowledgement and integration by the federal government of our state and local partners in the domestic nexus of national security and public safety. Such a national collaboration could be achieved by building on the operationally successful government-wide programs anchored with agency partners under the ISE, and by introducing structural reforms to better institutionalize coordination and collective threat assessment, capability development, performance management, and resource allocation across the continuum of agencies. To harness and benefit from the fast pace of technology, we must develop capabilities that leverage prior investments made by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (F/S/L/T/T) agencies. In particular, for existing ISE implementations, such as the New Jersey ISE, we must remain cognizant of the fact that although numerous information sharing lessons have been learned since 9/11, many IS&S stakeholders still do not operate at the maximum capacity to efficiently and effectively share data. Data still tends to be stored in traditional silos and is not uniformly and quickly available for tactical, investigative, and strategic use by all IS&S stakeholders. This is, in part, a result of antiquated processes and technologies, and has a detrimental effect on operational output and financial efficiency.


A comprehensive solution that can be driven from the bottom-up is needed to provide ISE communities with the information they need to better understand their environments—including threats and hazards—and more appropriately allocate the resources at their disposal. Through the fusion of information from multiple sources, the ISE can unlock information systems, making them accessible to trained analysts who then will be better able to develop a comprehensive picture on local, state, regional, and even national scales. This information then can be shared with field officers, investigators, and chief executives. Users can query intelligence databases and information from other COI members, enhancing the nation’s ability to meet the President’s objective of enabling responsible information sharing across the national security enterprise. More specifically, each ISE needs to be enhanced to enable the free flow of information in support of law enforcement, homeland security, and emergency management missions to prevent, mitigate, respond to, investigate, and recover from all man-made and natural hazards. An ISE must provide secure access to information and actionable intelligence for participating agencies, across the public and private sectors, to better assure the people’s safety and security. It needs to provide network, data, and application services in a trusted Internet-based federation, in conformance with the NSISS. Finally, it must optimize investment through the use and reuse of business and technological frameworks that have been effectively implemented in relevant state and national initiatives.


The remainder of this page provides a set of example ISEs that constitute prior successes, and upon which our future work in this area must build.


Example: Maritime Domain Awareness ISE


One example case for which the approach must apply to existing ISE capabilities is the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Information Sharing Environment (MISE). One of the MDA core principles is that to “Foster Information Sharing and Safeguarding… MDA depends on secure, effective information sharing and safeguarding with partners possessing validated access.” [1] The National MDA Architecture Plan describes the process for sharing maritime information [2] and an architecture that was “founded upon net-centric principles to provide a secure, collaborative information-sharing environment” [3]. Under this plan, maritime information providers can share and protect their information within the MISE, enhancing partner abilities to gain an effective understanding of the maritime domain. The plan is “a solution to mitigate and manage gaps between the different information sharing systems and user requirements.” [4] The MISE framework was built with a realization that each participating agency has its own operational constraints, and that information sharing depends upon leveraging existing programs and systems to the greatest extent possible. Agencies and organizations with maritime interests have their own requirements, authorities, information infrastructures, and resources. The MISE accounts for each of those constraints and defines a service oriented architectural approach that allows participation while protecting individual information and resources. Data and analytical products are shared via common data standards with access controls that enable data providers to manage sharing as defined by their respective authorities or regulations. The current functional MISE elements are trusted systems and their users, NIEM Maritime data standards, common attributes for Access Control, and an Information Sharing Infrastructure. Four areas for focus were identified for the initial MISE effort: Advance Notice of Arrival, Indicators and Notifications, Positions, and Maritime Operational Threat Response. [5] To ensure proper data security and entitlement management, the Architecture Plan employed an attributes-based sharing policy that defines an Information Access Policy (IAP) process. The IAP is a predefined set of rules, represented using common attributes, that governs which users can access what information. The attributes-based sharing policy provides a level of assurance to information providers that information is properly handled and access is only granted authorized users. The successful establishment of a core ISE infrastructure based on net-centric principles makes MISE well-positioned for enhancement to be capable of operationalizing new information sharing capabilities at the speed of agreement and meeting all the other criteria described under General Requirements above. For example, participants in the MISE trust framework could readily have their capabilities extended to include access to the assets of other trust frameworks.


Example: Partner Deconfliction Interface


Another example of more specific information-sharing requirements can be found in the Partner Deconfliction Interface (PDI) event deconfliction system [6]. PDI operates among law enforcement information systems to notify officers potential event conflicts in concurrent investigations. The current system has been a striking success, with over 350,000 events in 2014 alone. Under the current sequence of transactions between systems, an event is posted from an owning system to the PDI system, and notifications are sent to any relevant officers in that case that a conflict is detected. But it is then the responsibility of the notified officers to make contact and conduct additional research outside the PDI boundaries. Opportunities for deeper automated information sharing might be available if the officers currently using PDI had more sophisticated access control capabilities that would allow them to, for example, avoid creating conflicts in the first place or to gain sufficient information to resolve the conflict without having to contact the other officer at all.


Example: MDA Mass Population Movement Messaging


Another example of more specific information-sharing requirements can be found in the OGC Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Mass Population Movement Messaging Pilot Summary. The goal of the MDA Pilot is to understand and document how information sharing and safeguarding interoperability tools and practices, including open geospatial standards, can enable cross-domain interoperability on an international level in a Maritime context. If the pilot eventually receives sponsorship, it will focus on the challenges related to the coordination of multi-regional / multi-national operations and messaging related to the displacement and mass movement of populations in response to conflict. The current exodus of people from the Middle East to multiple nations in Europe and other countries around the world will be used as a scenario for this discussion. The pilot will exercise a Common Operational Picture (COP) for coordination of activities among coordinating nations, and will exercise interoperable interexchange of messages via the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) and Europe’s Unified Messaging Format (UMF). Among cooperating nations, these messaging systems secure information sharing among public safety and security organizations on a range of topics. The pilot will emphasize identification and recommended resolution of interoperability issues, and will document a standards-based interoperable reference architecture that can be scaled. A range of standards-based technologies and geospatial information sources will be employed, including imagery from government and commercial sources and geospatial features and other location referenced data relevant to the movement of populations and individuals. Multiple scenarios will be exercised, including establishment of the COP and specific incident messaging related to vessel tracking, emergency response to maritime incidents regarding refugees, tracking/monitoring the health and well-being of individuals and families after entry, and the repatriation of populations after resolution of conflicts. A suspicious activity reporting scenario will also be examined, including human trafficking and smuggling and terrorism-related requests for intelligence (RFIs).


Example: National Identity Exchange Federation


As a final example, consider the National Identity Exchange Federation (NIEF). NIEF began in 2008 as an outgrowth of the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM) program, which focuses on developing secure, scalable, and cost-effective identity management technologies to support information sharing missions within the state and local law enforcement and criminal justice communities. Today NIEF's active membership roster includes a number of prominent state and local law enforcement agencies across the U.S., including the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept., the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS), the Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force, the Pennsylvania Justice Network, and others. NIEF maintains a symbiotic relationship with GFIPM, making use of existing GFIPM work products and also serving as a source of real-world feedback to drive the development of new GFIPM work products.


Collectively, these success stories illustrate that it is possible to build a wide range of effective intra-COI and inter-COI solutions for information sharing and safeguarding.


 Next: ICIF and the Terrorism-Related ISE