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Homeland Security Initiatives
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The scope of information sharing efforts changed after the events of September 11, 2001. Information sharing became a national imperative, with a broader, cross-discipline focus.

Incident Management Information Sharing Program

The IJIS Institute is supporting the First Responder Group (FRG) division of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) on the Incident Management Information Sharing Program. In February, 2014 the White House Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee (ISA-IPC) designated a new subcommittee called the Incident Management Information Sharing Subcommittee (IMIS-SC). The IMIS-SC, comprised of federal, state, and local emergency management practitioners, is chartered to identify requirements to leverage new or existing information sharing standards and processes to improve data exchanges among all members of the emergency management sector. The IJIS Institute will have an opportunity to leverage the Springboard initiative and is partnering with the Open Geospatial Consortium (the primary standards development organization for geospatial standards) and SRA International on the project.

The IJIS Institute will provide support to the IMIS-SC Governance process:

  • Identification of information sharing requirements and use cases, within the emergency management community that could be supported through new or enhancements to existing standards or interface specifications.
  • Develop a revised Incident Management Continuum description based upon the existing SAFECOM Continuum that is better aligned with new or planned technologies designed to meet broader data sharing requirements for first responders and also reflect the changing landscape due to FirstNet and Next Generation 911 initiatives.

IJIS will also establish pilot projects on IMIS-SC selected capabilities that will involve:

  • Evaluation of standards by industry through a consensus management process.
  • Testing of standards in an applied implementation testing environment.
  • Generation of engineering reports, reference implementations, and other best practice assets as appropriate following OGC’s Interoperability methodology
  • Certification of products and implementation through a compliant conformance management process (i.e., Springboard).
  • Stewardship of standards and process work products through standards governance processes.
  • Performance metrics to measure industry adoption and use of developed standards and specifications.

At the direction of FRG, the IJIS Institute team worked on the identification and initial requirements definition of several technology projects that the IMIS-SC could consider as part of the overall IMIS initiative as well as are supportive of the S&T APEX mission areas. Projects include areas involving improved CAD-to-CAD communications, improved situational awareness for emergency management agencies and first responders, and an initiative to pilot a sensor-based demonstration of Internet-based technologies in support of the S&T Next Generation First Responder program.

Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI)

State, local, tribal, and federal partners, along with several national law enforcement organizations, collaborated to develop the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), a national program to share terrorism-related SAR data at all levels of government. The NSI incorporates agencies’ individual SAR processes into a nationwide capability to share terrorism-related SAR data. The SAR process focuses on what law enforcement has been doing for years—gathering information regarding behaviors and incidents associated with crime and establishing a process to share information to detect and prevent criminal activity, including crime associated with domestic and international terrorism.

The IJIS Institute and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) worked together to support the NSI by providing program management, training, and system integration services during the implementation of operational capabilities at each of the 78 DHS designated fusion centers establish in the United States and territories.  After a two-year pilot effort involving three state fusion centers, nine major city fusion centers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the White House authorized a national implementation of the NSI in 2010.  The primary goal of the NSI program was to institutionalize operational procedures, training, policy development, and technology at the fusion centers to allow for the rapid sharing of suspicious activity reports (using National Information Exchange Model data exchanges) within the fusion center community, DHS, and, of course, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force organization.

Of particular importance to the NSI Program Management Office was ensuring that a citizen’s privacy, constitutional civil rights, and civil liberties were protected while, at the same time, allowing suspicious activity in 16 different areas (such as photography, surveillance, or testing of security) to be reviewed and evaluated by trained analysts and law enforcement personnel.

The project was funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and included the participation of seven IJIS Institute Member companies in various phases of the implementation process. The IJIS institute completed its work in September 2014 and the FBI assumed responsibility for the NSI technology program.

Fusion Center Technology Assistance Program

The IJIS Institute partnered with Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR)SEARCH—the National Consortium for Justice Statistics and Information, and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in delivering the Bureau of Justice Assistance-sponsored Fusion Center Technology Assistance (TA) program. This initiative hastened the identification and fulfillment of fusion center training and support needs.

The IJIS Institute worked with participating agencies to assist with information sharing and safeguarding topics relevant to fusion center operations. 

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