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White House issues strategy for sharing national security information

Dec. 20, 2012 - 01:54PM   |  

The White House released a new strategy Wednesday to improve how agencies share and protect national security information.

The National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding calls for agencies to use common standards and processes for acquiring, accessing, retaining, producing and sharing information. The goal is to ensure information is provided in a timely manner to those who need it.

A major hurdle to sharing has been the inability to connect information stored in disparate databases across government. The strategy directs agencies to consolidate and share common information technology services and systems, and ensure systems and new acquisitions are built on common standards.

The strategy highlights five priority goals for agencies to:

• Align the missions of information sharing and safeguarding data.

• Develop guidelines for information sharing and safeguarding agreements to address privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.

• Adopt standards on metadata, the details behind a particular piece of data, to improve discovery, access, correlation and monitoring of the data across federal networks and security domains.

• Use the Federal Identity Credential and Access Management roadmap, which shows how agencies can ensure security and privacy of digital data and services.

• Implement policies, processes and controls for securing data on removable media, such as thumb drives. Audit agency assets, security vulnerabilities and threats. Agencies should also establish programs, processes and techniques to deter and detect insider threats.

The strategy urges agencies to not only measure improvements on how quickly and accurately they share and protect information but also the overall effectiveness of the data and whether it benefits their mission. “Ultimately, the value of responsible information sharing is measured by its contribution to proactive decision-making,” the strategy says.

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