Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interagency Information Sharing

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by LCDR Craig Wennet, Project Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Domain Awareness and Information Sharing.

In addition to other efforts and legislation, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) ensured that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have a central role in the information sharing environment. The Coast Guard, as the largest DHS component and a member of the intelligence community, possesses a unique role in federal information sharing efforts.

Coast Guard Information Sharing Initiatives
Since 2007, the Coast Guard’s Information Sharing Executive Agent (ISEA) staff has visited Coast Guard sectors and subordinate units. Staff members speak with sector personnel and their port partners about their working relationships in maritime safety and security and gather information about information sharing and joint operations.

Visits are planned in coordination with several key Coast Guard and DHS stakeholders, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We interview a variety of partners at the federal, state, local, public, private, and occasionally international levels to gather information sharing best practices and recommendations for improvement.

General Findings and Recommendations
Primary sector collaboration venues include Area Maritime Security Committees, harbor safety committees, and numerous other committees or associations. In every port visited, the Coast Guard also plays a chairing or moderating role in local law enforcement or first responder associations, and is often the glue that holds them together, even when it is not the primary response or enforcement agency.

Since commencing our interviews in 2007, a consistent trend toward increased collaborative planning, joint operations, and joint training among the Coast Guard and its numerous partners has been apparent. Additionally, respondents shared concerns and provided many recommendations for improving operational collaboration and information sharing.

Next Steps
DHS published its information sharing strategy in July 2008, and the ISEA staff plans to introduce an information sharing strategy for the Coast Guard, incorporating what we have learned through visits and interviews with port partners.

One of the ISEA staff’s most important goals is to make the best practices and recommendations we have collected more visible within the Coast Guard. For more information on Information Sharing Executive Agent staff initiatives or to review our annual reports, please visit our Homeport or CG Portal sites:

We invite you to share your information sharing success stories or recommendations with us at uscginformationsharing@uscg.mil.

For more information:
The Maritime Domain Awareness Information Exchange: http://www.mda.gov/.

The National Maritime Domain Awareness Coordination Office: http://www.gmsa.gov/index.html.

Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/summer2010.

Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.