Goverance A Challenge for Intelligence Information Sharing

February 26, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Intelligence Community Directive 501 served as the focal point bringing together a constructive dialog among intelligence experts who discussed the standards that their agencies must meet to share information. The experts were part of a panel on intelligence sharing at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference.

Once again, governance was fingered as the biggest issue being faced. Excellent leadership is needed  to change the culture and to gradually change the organization. Policy guidelines must show that information sharing is the normal course. What should not be shared should be by exception, said Vance Hitch, Chief Information Officer, Department of Justice. "We need a Google for cops and a Google for intelligence agents," he added.

Intelligence Community Directive 501 applies to organizations within the intelligence community, but the Department of Homeland Security shares most of its information with state and local organizations and the private sector. If information has an intelligence value, then 501 applies, but who decides if the information has intelligence value? asked Dr. Carter Morris, Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  "As we build the systems, there are a lot of policy issues," he explained.

The goverence and framework for the implementation plan of 501 are being established, according to Dr. Prescott Winter, Associate Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Infomation Integration, Office of the Director of National Intelligence. By June 1, 2009, he said all documents in the library of national intelligence will be discoverable and accessible. He relayed that 501 will make us information stewards, not guardians of information, and this is new terminology.

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