Congess

Senate clears DHS info-sharing bill

Data analytics 

The Senate cleared a bill to boost information sharing and data access at the Department of Homeland Security, sending it one step closer to the president's desk.

The Department of Homeland Security Data Framework Act, introduced by Maggie Hassan (D-N.H), passed by unanimous consent. The bill adds legislative teeth to a DHS effort to consolidate disparate databases and systems across the agency's components.

"The current system for accessing threat information is fractured and creates obstacles for the hard-working men and women at the Department of Homeland Security who are trying to identify potential terror threats and secure our homeland," Hassan said in a statement.

The bill was introduced in the House in May 2017 by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and passed by voice vote in September 2017. Before being sent to the president for signature, the House will have to concur with the Senate version's language.

Hurd applauded the Senate's passage, saying the bill will allow DHS "to quickly and safely share sensitive information among law enforcement agencies without compromising our nation's secrets."

The DHS effort to consolidate databases across the 22 component agencies seeks to solve interoperability issues that couldn't be solved without improvements to legacy systems. The bill sets a two-year timeline to integrate those legacy systems, specifying separations between classified and unclassified information. The bill does not cover information that could risk revealing the identities of sources or compromise ongoing investigations.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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