ICIF and the Terrorism-Related ISE

By law, the Congressionally mandated Terrorism-Related Information Sharing Environment (TR ISE) is intended to provide key technical, policy, and organizational aid to those executing the missions of counter-terrorism (CT) and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) at the domestic nexus of national security and public safety. It is, however, only one of a web of ISEs – whether formal or informal – that exist at the federal, regional, state, local, and tribal-territorial levels of government. Some of these ISEs were established solely to serve a narrow, but enduring, mission interest. Others are transitory in nature, designed to serve only a specific tactical operation, upon the conclusion of which they are effectively dissolved.


The TR ISE is distributed, both horizontally and vertically. Because information of CT and counter-WMD interest to the federal government  can originate at any level, the ability to rapidly exchange such information between and across the levels dictates that each node in the resulting de facto network (ISE) adhere to some degree of standardization and coordination.


The ICIF offers the required degree of standardization and coordination. It is one of the federally-developed dual-use capabilities designed to serve the needs of the Federal CT and counter-WMD mission, while remaining able to contribute to enough other missions as well – at all levels of government – to make it financially attractive for wide-scale implementation by the US information technology industry. The ICIF thus has the potential to influence information sharing standards and processes across many dimensions.


What is a Dual-Use CapabilityWhen we note above that the ICIF is a dual-use capability, we mean simply that although the ICIF is primarily intended to provide trust and interoperability in support of CT and other related missions, it is also available for use in non-CT scenarios where those scenarios demand similar trust and interoperability requirements. The primary reasons for this are: (1) similarity of trust requirements across CT and non-CT use cases, and (2) cost minimization.


The Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) is charged with establishing and optimizing the TR ISE. PM-ISE is investing in the ICIF precisely because of the ICIF's ability to generate information sharing standards that ensure the interoperability of ISEs used by tactical projects, communities of interest (COIs), and other ISE members at all levels. Coordination of the development and operation of the TR ISE is the responsibility of the Standards Coordinating Council (SCC): a coalition of government, nonprofit standards bodies, and industry players that is chartered to support the development, integration, refinement, and broad use of relevant ISE guidelines, frameworks, standards and related best practices.