Info sharing to be part of performance reviews

If you are a federal employee tasked with sharing terrorism-related information and you hoard data, your annual performance review could soon suffer.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) and the Office of Personnel Management recently released guidance meant to help agencies hold employees responsible for their information-sharing efforts.  Relevant employees will be judged on how well they share terrorism-related information in their annual performance reviews as early as fiscal 2009.

The new guidance is designed to help agencies implement a 2005 Presidential Memorandum that directed agencies, as appropriate, to include a performance evaluation element on information sharing in employees’ annual performance appraisal reviews.

According to the guidance released Sept. 24, nearly 50 percent of the agencies that comprise the Information Sharing Council -- which includes the Central Intelligence Agency, FBI, Defense, Homeland Security, State and Justice departments -- have taken initial steps to include information sharing in performance appraisals. However, several of those agencies have requested guidance from OPM and PM-ISE on how best to address the president’s requirements.

“This guidance furthers our efforts to remove cultural barriers and create incentives to encourage collaboration that is so critical to our counterterrorism efforts,” said Thomas McNamara, the program manager at PM-ISE, in a release today announcing the guidance.

OPM, which worked with PM-ISE to develop the guidance, has pledged to help agencies use it to implement it as part of their management processes.

The guidance outlines a series of terrorism-related information sharing competencies that agencies, depending on their mission, should appraise. For example, employees who share terrorism-related competently:

•Ensure information is available in a timely manner, is accessible and relevant.

•Work to maximize cooperation and collaboration.

Executives should:

•Hold relevant personnel accountable for the improved sharing of terrorism-related information.

•Incorporate terrorism-related information sharing into the organization’s strategic plan, as appropriate.

IT professionals should:

•Build or modify systems to address the needs of ISE participants.

•Ensure secure, continuous online access to terrorism-related information.

•Successfully use current systems to enhance information sharing.

Meanwhile, all participants will be judged on whether they share terrorism-related information in a way that protects sources and methods and meets applicable legal standards for protecting privacy and civil liberties.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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