Feds offered data-sharing tool for anti-terrorism efforts

Agencies’ ability to build or modify systems for sharing terrorism-related information could become less cumbersome if they adopt a new framework that standardizes computer-to-computer interfaces and provides a road map for information technology planning, spending and integration.

The framework is Version 1.0 of the Enterprise Architecture Framework for the Information Sharing Environment (ISE), which the Office of the Program Manager for the ISE (PM-ISE) issued late last month. Officials said agencies should use the framework to develop information-sharing components that fit their business architectures and the ISE blueprint.

“Agencies have their own information-sharing missions, and we are trying to support that,” said Clark Smith, director of PM-ISE’s Technical Division.

“Agencies have their own information-sharing missions, and we are trying to support that.”
Clark Smith, Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment

The framework builds on existing policies, business processes and technologies. It incorporates the federal enterprise architecture and the intelligence community’s and Defense Department’s enterprise architectures. It identifies components such as high-level business processes, information flows, data descriptions and data exchanges.
Kshemendra Paul, the Justice Department’s chief enterprise architect, said both parties must agree on what they want to accomplish by sharing information.

“This shared understanding spans across the architectural stack [to include] business scenarios, policy constraints [such as] privacy or securing personally identifiable information, information exchange points and specifications, technology standards, identity management and trust models, and targeted networks and applications,” he said.
The framework guides agencies toward that shared understanding by identifying information exchanges and flows that support a specific mission, Smith said.

Tony Pagliaro, who leads BearingPoint’s Public Sector practice for Enterprise Architecture, Information Sharing and Performance Management, said there has been a need for standardization across the community, and the ISE framework addresses that need.
Smith said the framework shows “when putting together segments, this is the way we will approach the problem. Whether you do full-blown IT system orientation or if you do core pieces, they are aligned together.”

Christian Barr, director of product management at Metatomix, said agencies should use the framework to align their business processes.
“Without this framework, agencies might continue building and deploying solutions that don’t take other players into account,” Barr said.

Smith added that the framework is focused on agency mission needs, not just information sharing for its own sake.

“The key point of this concept is starting with a mission need and deciding what information exchange or flow supports that need,” Smith said. “That question must be answered first and then we can get into the technology to support the flow.”

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