In December, President Barack Obama signed the new National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding. The previous strategy dated from 2010. Introducing the new strategy, the President noted that it “aims to strike the proper balance between sharing information with those who need it to keep our country safe and safeguarding it from those who would do us harm. While these two priorities—sharing and safeguarding—are often seen as mutually exclusive, in reality they are mutually reinforcing.”
Kshemendra Paul, who is Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) and pivotal for the implementation of the new strategy, echoed these points in his blog entry on the release: “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.”
The new strategy envisions “a future in which information supports national security decisionmaking by providing the right information, at any time, to any authorized user, restricted only by law or policy, not technology; and where safeguarding measures, to include a comprehensive regimen of accountability, prevent the misuse of the information.”
In its 2009 report Nation At Risk, the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age noted, “An information sharing framework is necessary. Information sharing is not only about technology. It is about establishing a collaborative environment with a clear purpose: ensuring that the right people have access to the right information at the right time under the right conditions to enable the most informed decisions.”
To establish such an information sharing framework, the Markle Task Force recommended then that information sharing be a top priority, which means:
- ensuring that policymakers have the best information to inform their decisions
- ensuring that all government information relevant to national security is discoverable and accessible to authorized users while audited to ensure accountability
- developing government-wide privacy policies for information sharing to match the increased technological capabilities to collect, store, and analyze information
- overcoming bureaucratic resistance to change
Importantly, the new National Strategy has now the following goals:
- Drive collective action through collaboration and accountability.
- Improve information discovery and access through common 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.
For more information, learn about the Markle Task Force and its work on national security.