Nationwide SAR Initiative

The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) builds on what law enforcement and other agencies have been doing for years—gathering information regarding behaviors and incidents associated with criminal activity—and establishes a standardized process whereby information can be shared among agencies to help detect and prevent terrorism-related criminal activity. Our office support this initiative through measurement, interagency communication, and program development.

In 2008-2009, the PM-ISE evaluated the policies, procedures, and technology concepts needed to implement a unified SAR information sharing process across federal, state, and local governments. The results of the ISE-SAR Evaluation Environment, documented in a series of publicly available reports, showed that the unified process not only enhanced counterterrorism efforts, but also strengthened privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections. Moreover, although the evaluation was focused on SARs that were indicative of terrorism-related crimes, both the steps in the NSI cycle and the data elements in the ISE-SAR Functional Standard are adaptable to other types of criminal behavior.

In March 2010, the Department of Justice established an NSI Office to facilitate the implementation of the NSI across all levels of government and assist participants in adopting compatible processes, policies, and standards that foster broader sharing of SARs, while ensuring that privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties are protected in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Updated information on the NSI can be found on the National SAR Initiative website or by emailing NSI.

The NSI is one of the ISE’s most significant accomplishments to date and the best example of the ISE in action. This is because it is an interrelated set of harmonized policies, mission processes, and systems that leverage ISE core capabilities and enablers to empower the men and women on the frontline to access and share the information they need to keep the country safe.

The role of the PM-ISE is to coordinate and facilitate the development of a network-centric ISE by focusing on standards and architecture, security and access, associated privacy protections, and best practices. In addition, as improved business processes and supporting policies and technical solutions are developed and deployed, the PM-ISE helps identify, promote, and spread best practices and, where possible, influences resource allocation decisions to ensure the institutionalization and potential reuse of these mission partner capabilities.