Information Sharing

Feds seek industry input for info-sharing architecture

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The government is in the midst of designing a new reference architecture expected to improve efficiency and efficacy in cross-organization information sharing, and it is seeking industry feedback to accelerate and improve the process.

In a request for information (RFI) released by the Department of Homeland Security, DHS and its mission partners seek industry input on “defining a future architecture to support the vision of cross-organization information sharing of correlated data and resolved entities.”

The architecture will be designed to make information sharing between federal agencies easier and less legally burdensome, according to Kshemendra Paul, who spoke at a recent briefing in Washington, D.C. Paul is the program manager for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's Information Sharing Environment, which is a mission partner on the effort, along with the National Security Staff.

Such a reference architecture could streamline policy decisions or vastly improve the speed at which agencies share information. Agencies could exchange limited amounts of correlated data with more effectiveness than today’s bulk data transfers that are inherently inefficient and create myriad privacy concerns.

The government is looking for industry opinions and ideas on “techniques, methods, and tools to advance the vision of data correlation and entity resolution information sharing, preferably using open standards, to support various missions including counterterrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction, and improving homeland security business processes.”

The reference architecture will be the culmination of an effort that dates back to President Barack Obama’s National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding. The strategy identified the need for reference architecture for data aggregation and correlation as one of its 16 key areas for action. An interagency working group comprising tribal, local, state and federal agencies called the Data Aggregation Working Group went to work developing the vision and determining functional areas and services required for such interoperability.

ODNI’s ISE has been clear about its desire to fuse industry expertise into the data aggregation reference architecture, even reaching out via the blogosphere.

“We know we can’t write this alone. We need to harness information and expertise that exists outside of the four walls of government to ensure the reference architecture is a useful one,” the ISE wrote on its blog.

Submissions by industry are due by March 3.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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