The scope of the ISE can be described as a collection of end-to-end mission processes and supporting core capabilities, enabled by standards, architecture, security, access, policy, governance, and management. End-to-end mission processes are operated by ISE mission partners and directly support frontline law enforcement, public safety, homeland security, intelligence, defense, and diplomatic personnel. They encompass a broad range of activities that are intended to have a material impact on detecting, preventing, disrupting, responding to, or mitigating terrorist activity.
While end-to-end mission processes—Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR), for instance—are the central focus of the ISE, they depend on the availability of core capabilities that support individual mission processes. Fusion centers, for example, play important roles in almost all of the mission processes. Furthermore, achieving interoperability across multiple networks handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) (formerly Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU)) will contribute significantly to improving mission processes supporting SAR and Alerts, Warnings, and Notifications (AWN). Finally, ISE enablers—such as, a sound privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties (CL) policy—are essential to both ISE mission processes and the core capabilities. The figure below depicts this notional view of the ISE, portraying some of the major mission processes, core capabilities, and enablers.
The focus of the ISE is specifically on the sharing of terrorism and homeland security information, however, the need for collaboration and sharing of information extends beyond terrorism-related issues to encompass all information relevant to the national security of the United States and the safety of the American people. ISE mission partners rarely have the ability to segregate their activities to isolate terrorism information. Frontline law enforcement, for instance, is more likely to generate SARs relating to gang or narcotic crime than criminal activity with a clear terrorism nexus. The inherent adaptability of the business process developed as part of the NSI is allowing federal, state, local, and tribal mission partners to capitalize on consistent training, privacy and civil liberty protections, oversight, and change management investments developed for the ISE and apply them more broadly to all-crimes, all-hazards operations. Such mission partner needs must be factored into ISE strategy and plans to avoid deadlock and inefficient or ineffective solutions.