Homeland Security: Information Sharing Responsibilities, Challenges, and Key Management Issues Page: 3 of 53
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Accountability- Integrity- Reliability
Highlights of GAO-03-715T, a testimony
before the Committee on Government
Reform, House of Representatives
Why GAO Did This Study
The Homeland Security Act of
2002, which created the
Department of Homeland Security,
brought together 22 diverse
organizations to help prevent
terrorist attacks in the United
States, reduce the vulnerability of
the United States to terrorist
attacks, and minimize damage and
assist in recovery from attacks that
do occur. To accomplish this
mission, the act established
specific homeland security
responsibilities for the department,
which included sharing information
among its own entities and with
other federal agencies, state and
local governments, the private
sector, and others.
GAO was asked to discuss DHS's
information sharing efforts,
including (1) the significance of
information sharing in fulfilling
DHS's responsibilities; (2) GAO's
related prior analyses and
recommendations for improving
the federal government's
information sharing efforts; and
(3) key management issues DHS
should consider in developing and
implementing effective information
sharing processes and systems.
To view the full testimony, click on the link
For more information, contact Robert F.
Dacey at (202) 512-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information Sharing Responsibilities,
Challenges, and Key Management Issues
What GAO Found
DHS's responsibilities include the coordination and sharing of information
related to threats of domestic terrorism within the department and with and
between other federal agencies, state and local governments, the private
sector, and other entities. To accomplish its missions, DHS must, for
example access, receive, and analyze law enforcement information,
intelligence information, and other threat, incident, and vulnerability
information from federal and nonfederal sources; and analyze such
information to identify and assess the nature and scope of terrorist threats.
DHS must also share information both internally and externally with
agencies and law enforcement on such things as goods and passengers
inbound to the United States and individuals who are known or suspected
terrorists and criminals.
GAO has made numerous recommendations related to information sharing.
Although improvements have been made, more efforts are needed to
address the following challenges, among others, that GAO has identified.
* Developing a comprehensive and coordinated national plan to facilitate
information sharing on critical infrastructure.
* Developing productive information sharing relationships between the
federal government and state and local governments and the private
* Providing appropriate incentives for nonfederal entities to increase
information sharing with the federal government and enhance other
critical infrastructure protection efforts.
Through its prior work, GAO has identified potential information sharing
barriers, critical success factors, and other key management issues that
DHS should consider as it establishes systems and processes to facilitate
information sharing among and between government entities and the
private sector. It will be important for the department to understand the
numerous potential barriers to information sharing and develop appropriate
strategies to address them, considering any related provisions of the
Homeland Security Act. GAO's work has also identified critical success
factors for information sharing that DHS should consider as it proceeds.
Further, as part of its information technology management, DHS should
develop and implement an enterprise architecture to integrate the many
existing systems and processes required to support its mission and to guide
the department's investments in new systems to effectively support
homeland security in the coming years. Other key management issues
include ensuring that sensitive information is secured, developing secure
communications networks, integrating staff from different organizations,
and ensuring that the department has properly skilled staff.
United States General Accounting Office
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United States. General Accounting Office. Homeland Security: Information Sharing Responsibilities, Challenges, and Key Management Issues, text, May 8, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290343/m1/3/: accessed August 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.