Obama Unveils National Info Sharing Strategy

Balancing Need to Share Information with Safeguarding Liberties
Obama Unveils National Info Sharing Strategy

President Obama has issued a National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding that he says aims to strike the proper balance between sharing information with those who need it to keep the country safe and safeguarding it from those who would do it harm.

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"While these two priorities - sharing and safeguarding - are often seen as mutually exclusive, in reality they are mutually reinforcing," Obama says in the introduction to the strategy, which was issued Dec. 19. "This strategy, therefore, emphasizes how strengthening the protection of classified and sensitive information can help to build confidence and trust so that such information can be shared with authorized users."

The strategy focuses on achieving five goals:

  1. Drive Collective Action through Collaboration and Accountability. The nation can best reach its shared vision when working together, using governance models that enable mission achievement, adopting common processes where possible to build trust, simplifying the information sharing agreement development process and supporting efforts through performance management, training and incentives.
  2. Improve Information Discovery and Access through Common Standards. Improving discovery and access involves developing clear policies for making information available to approved individuals. Secure discovery and access relies on identity, authentication and authorization controls, data tagging, enterprise-wide data correlation, common information sharing standards and a rigorous process to certify and validate their use.
  3. Optimize Mission Effectiveness through Shared Services and Interoperability. Efforts to optimize mission effectiveness include shared services, data and network interoperability and increased efficiency in acquisition.
  4. Strengthen Information Safeguarding through Structural Reform, Policy and Technical Solutions. To foster trust and safeguard information, policies and coordinating bodies must focus on identifying, preventing and mitigating insider threats and external intrusions, while departments and agencies work to enhance capabilities for data-level controls, automated monitoring and cross-classification solutions.
  5. Protect Privacy, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties through Consistency and Compliance. Integral to maintaining the public trust is increasing the consistency by which privacy, civil rights and civil liberties protections are applied across the government, building corresponding safeguards into the development of information sharing operations and promoting accountability and compliance mechanisms.

The strategy is grounded in three core principles: Treating information as a national asset; recognizing that information sharing and safeguarding requires shared risk management; and that information informs decision-making, which underlies all actions and reminds the nation that better decision-making is the purpose of sharing information in the first place.

Obama says the strategy recognizes vital information for what it is: a national asset that must be protected and shared, as appropriate. "The threats to our national security are constantly evolving, so our policies to ensure this information is used and protected as intended must evolve as well," the president says. "This includes protecting private and personal information about United States persons and upholding our commitment to transparency. This strategy makes it clear that the individual privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of United States persons must be - and will be - protected."

The president says the nation's security depends on sharing the right information with the right people at the right time. "We will therefore keep working to maintain an environment in which information is shared in a manner that is responsible, seamless and secure," he says. "Guided by this strategy, we will continue to leverage critical information to keep our Nation secure and our fellow citizens safe."


About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Host & Producer, ISMG Security Report; Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity & InfoRiskToday

Chabrow hosts and produces the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversees ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.




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