In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, our government not only needed to improve its counterterrorism intelligence, but also share information better, faster, and smarter. We found that our national security relies on our ability to share the right information, with the right people, at the right time – and we must “enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities,” as the National Security Strategy states.
On December 19, the President signed the PDF: National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (NSISS). This new National Strategy is part of a policy continuum that includes Section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the 2007 National Strategy for Information Sharing, Executive Orders 13587 and 13388, the ISE Presidential Guidelines, and the National Security Strategy.
This Strategy provides guidance for what we must do to share and safeguard information that enhances national security and protects the safety of the American people. It also addresses more than just terrorism information, because we have learned that it is often impractical, if not impossible, to identify and separate that type of information from others, such as crime, drug, or immigration. Three guiding principles form the foundation of this National Strategy:
- Information as a national asset. In addition to gathering, storing, and using information to complete their own missions, departments and agencies must view information as a national asset that should be shared with other agencies, departments, and partners who have a national security mission – all while protecting individual rights.
- Information sharing and safeguarding requires shared risk management. To achieve responsible information sharing, risk must be managed among departments and agencies, not avoided. Shared policies and standards, increased awareness and training, effective governance, and enhanced accountability help agencies and departments to both share and manage the risk associated with information sharing.
- Information informs decision making. The value of information sharing is measured by its contribution to proactive decision making. Informed decision making requires the ability to discover, retrieve, and use accurate, timely, relevant, and actionable information. The policies, guidelines, standards, and frameworks promulgated by this Strategy will strengthen our nation’s ability to make proactive, informed decisions.
The NSISS also sets forth five goals:
- Drive collective action through collaboration and accountability.
- Improve information discovery and access through shared standards.
- Optimize mission effectiveness through shared services and interoperability.
- Strengthen information safeguarding through structural reform, policy, and technical solutions.
- Protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties through consistency and compliance.
The new National Strategy serves as a guide for collective government efforts that promote responsible information sharing and safeguarding in support of our national security. Many of the goals and objectives reflect work already underway in our office and across the government. My office is acting on the leadership provided in this Strategy to advance responsible information sharing efforts nationwide.
Moving forward, the Administration is developing an implementation plan to accomplish the Strategy’s goals and realize its vision – and we will continue to update you about our progress in information sharing and safeguarding on this blog.