How They Connect The Dots

This is what information sharing looks like.

Information sharing: It has been hailed as a preventative for terrorist attacks, a prophylactic for miscommunication and the pinnacle of preparedness that every intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agency in the government should strive to reach. Only days after the Sept. 11 attacks, a narrative took hold about the months and years preceding the disaster. The CIA, the FBI, all the powerful intelligence gathering and analytic arms of the government failed to share what they knew about al Qaeda and its capabilities with each other, and so they missed the full picture of impending doom.

In the years since the attacks, the concept of information sharing has taken on mantralike status. Everyone from the president down to the local police officer says it's not just a good idea but the indispensable ingredient to true homeland security. But putting aside all the abstract talk and obvious virtues, what does information sharing actually look like today?

When the Homeland Security Department says it shares information about terrorist threats with state and local governments, how does that work? Do a bunch of officials sit in a room together? Do they communicate via computer? When the FBI insists it's cooperating like never before with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, what does that really mean? Are they swapping leads about sleeper cells, or do they just have each other on speed-dial but never pick up the phone? What's really going on here?

If you want to know what information sharing today looks like, consider the hypothetical case that unfolds on the following pages. While imagined, it is grounded in reality and presents a comprehensive view of what agencies are capable of when they put their minds to it.

In this scenario, more than a dozen agencies and organizations, from the federal, state and local levels, as well as the private sector and one foreign government, come together to catch a suspected terrorist. Behind every action, every phone call, every check of a watch list or interrogation of a suspect, information sharing is happening.

The chase doesn't always unfold so neatly, but if you want to know what governments can do today, and how they would like to perform in the future, then read on.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.