National Applications Office Certification Review

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the 1960s, classified satellite information collected by intelligence agencies has been used, from time to time, by federal civilian agencies and other non-intelligence entities for civil, scientific, and environmental purposes (such as mapping, disaster relief, and environmental research). These uses have historically been coordinated by the Civil Applications Committee (CAC) led by the U.S. Geological Survey, a component of the Department of the Interior. Following the events of September 11, 2001, attention has turned to information sharing as a key element in developing comprehensive and practical approaches ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. November 6, 2008.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the 1960s, classified satellite information collected by intelligence agencies has been used, from time to time, by federal civilian agencies and other non-intelligence entities for civil, scientific, and environmental purposes (such as mapping, disaster relief, and environmental research). These uses have historically been coordinated by the Civil Applications Committee (CAC) led by the U.S. Geological Survey, a component of the Department of the Interior. Following the events of September 11, 2001, attention has turned to information sharing as a key element in developing comprehensive and practical approaches to defending against potential terrorist attacks. Having information on threats, vulnerabilities, and incidents can help an agency better understand the risks and determine what preventive measures should be implemented. The ability to share such terrorism-related information can also unify the efforts of federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as the private sector in preventing or minimizing terrorist attacks. Exchanging terrorism-related information continues to be a significant challenge for federal, state, and local governments--one that we recognize is not easily addressed. Accordingly, since January 2005, we have designated information sharing for homeland security a high-risk area. Citing a growing need to use classified satellite information for civil or domestic purposes, in 2005, an independent study group reviewed the future role of the CAC and concluded that although the civil domestic users were well supported through the CAC, homeland security and law enforcement users lacked a coherent, organized, and focused process to access classified satellite information. In 2007, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence designated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the executive agency and home of a newly created National Applications Office (NAO), whose mission would be to process requests for classified satellite information from, among others, nontraditional users of intelligence for civil, homeland security, and law enforcement purposes. DHS established a process whereby potential requesters for classified satellite information annually submit memorandums generally describing the information they plan to ask for, followed by a more detailed review of each actual request to ensure legal compliance. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, prohibited funds from being made available to commence operations of the NAO until the Secretary of Homeland Security certified that the program complies with all existing laws, including all applicable privacy and civil liberties standards, and that certification was reviewed by GAO. On April 9, 2008, in a letter to Members of Congress, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security certified that the NAO complies with all existing laws, including all applicable privacy and civil liberties standards. The Secretary also provided a charter for the office, privacy and civil liberties impact assessments, and NAO standard operating procedures. Our objectives were to determine the extent to which DHS justified its certification that the NAO complies with (1) all applicable laws, (2) privacy standards, and (3) civil liberties standards."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 6, 2008

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. National Applications Office Certification Review, text, November 6, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302647/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.