The United States is very vulnerable to terrorist attacks and evolving threats. Some of these threats include, but are not limited to cybersecurity, energy security, economy, climate change and weapons of mass destruction( Markle Task Force, 2009). This is due lack of information sharing and collaboration between agencies. There are also issues with policies that protect civil liberties while collecting constantly increasing intelligence. In order to mitigate risks to national security there must be efficient strategies in place to accommodate the information sharing process.
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It’s very imperative that the right people have the right information not only at the right time but also in a manner where civil liberties and privacy are protected( Markle Task Force, 2009). As learned from the 9/11 attacks, joint efforts is a must, which is why in order to improve security, data must be accessible to federal, local, state, and local agencies. This also includes foreign and private sectors.
The Markel Foundation Task Force, which is a collection of a diverse group of policy from previous Presidential administrations has presented recommendations in enhancing national security. One of the recommendations is that all information that has to do with national security should be discoverable and monitored for accountability and only accessed by authorized users. By making information discoverable it will give government officials the ability to locate pertinent data that will allow them make sound decisions in regards to terrorist attacks ( Markle Task Force, 2009). This is also an alternative to the collecting enormous sums of data and stored in centralized databases, which also lessens possibilities of privacy risks.
As stated earlier, the information should only be accessed by authorized users. This will allow those that have been granted access to only obtain information according to their role, purpose and specified mission. This is why auditing will be important because it assists in implementing a precautionary measure to unauthorized use. By monitoring users, it enhances information security and alleviates abuse ( Markle Task Force, 2009). Another issue is a lack in a system that verifies the identity of individuals. Technology such as Enterprise Architecture is a work in progress that will enable identity management.
The Markle Foundation Task Force has also recommended that the President and congress be engaged in developing policies that protect privacy. Technology plays a critical role in obtaining intelligence, such as collecting , storing, and analyzing. Without policies in place to govern how this information is used, it will lead to many concerns and push back from American citizens. This will also deconflict legal matters that may arise from how analysts and operatives use the information sharing framework.
In a letter to The Heads Of Executive Departments and Agencies discussed concerns regarding Transparency and Open Government (The White House, 2009). It states that the government should be transparent, because it gives insight to citizens about what the government is doing. This also involves executive departments and agencies publicly displaying information online about operations and other topics(The White House, 2009). It was also recommended to get the community involved by requesting feedback. This also includes offering opportunities for Americans to join in policy making decisions. This joint effort would enhance government effectiveness.
Another recommendation from the Markle Foundation Task Force is for the President and Congress to overcome bureaucratic challenges concerning change. Another issue within the agencies was the historical “Need to Know” principle” ( Markle Task Force, 2009). This needs to be transformed in order to support modern threats. The principle should be transformed into the “Need to Share” principle, which fueled the need for interagency centers. There are also issues and concerns with budgeting, which is why the position of Chief Performance Officer established. This person will be a great asset in assisting the government in trying to do more with less in regards to finance.
Practices such as communities of practice is one of the most critical elements in the DHS community. An example would be “The First Responder Communities of Practice, which is a professional networking, collaboration and communication platform that is designed to improve emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and additional homeland security areas of focus (DHS, 2014). This approach also assists in reducing costs pertaining to integrated collaboration platforms and increases information and resource sharing across agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate formed “The First Responder Communities of Practice (DHS, 2014). They also have two types of communities, open and closed. The open community which is information that is available that cover general topic. Closed communities has the option of allowing users to set up restricted communities. This is needed because of the types of the information that may cover specific missions or plans. This information could be “For Official Use Only” or “Sensitive but Unclassified” (DHS, 2014) So there has to be some kind of oversight and control, which also includes identify verification of all members.
In conclusion, an effective information sharing framework is very essential in dealing with modern threats. This type of collaboration should involve all levels of government, including private sectors, this should be a collective effort that involves the community. In order to be effective, policies must be in place that do not interfere with civil liberties and privacy concerns. In addition, there is a need for ensuring that the right people have access to sensitive information . It is especially important that users are monitored to enhances information security to mitigate abuse.
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