>Information Sharing Best Practices

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There are currently two major federal best practices for information sharing: Netcentricity and the Information Sharing Environment.

The Department of Defense (DoD) adopted a Netcentric Strategy in May 2003.

  • Netcentricity—Netcentricity seeks to ensure data visibility, availability, and usability to accelerate decision-making. This includes data tagging (metadata), posting data to shared spaces, and enabling the many-to-many exchange of data (i.e. many users and applications can access the same data instead of point-to-point interfaces). Netcentricity is the realization of a networked environment.
  • Global Information Grid (GIG)—The GIG is a globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel. The GIG includes all owned and leased communications and computing systems and services, software, data, security services and other associated services necessary to achieve information superiority.

Netcentricity is a strategy for sharing information. As the DoD strategy states: The data strategy is to “shift from private data to community or Enterprise data as a result of increased data “sharing” in the netcentric environment. Tagging, posting, and sharing of data are encouraged through the use of incentives and metrics.” (adapted from DoD Net-Centric Strategy from defense.link.mil, public site)

In 2004, the concept of Netcentricity was extended to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)’s Information Sharing Environment with the passing of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA).

  • Information Sharing Environment (ISE)The IRTPA requires the President to establish an ISE “for the sharing of terrorism information in a manner consistent with national security and with applicable legal standards relating to privacy and civil liberties” and the IRTPA defines the ISE to mean “an approach that facilitates the sharing of terrorism information.”

The ISE seeks to “facilitate trusted partnerships among all levels of government, the private sector, and foreign partners…[and to] promote an information sharing culture among partners by facilitating the improved sharing of timely, validated, protected, and actionable terrorism information.” (adapted from Information Sharing Environment Implementation Plan from ISE.gov, public site)

Both Net-centricity and ISE are best practices at increasing information sharing to improve and speed up decision-making and protect our nation and its citizens!

  • As the DoD Net-Centric Strategy states: “the core of the net-centric environment is the data that enables effective decisions.”
  • And similarly, in the ISE Implementation Plan, we read, “the highest priority in creating the ISE must be on facilitating, coordinating and expediting access to protected terrorism information.”

In User-centric EA, information sharing, as appropriate, is one of the primary goals of the architecture. Information is one of the six perspectives (performance, business, information, services, technology, and security, and a seventh to be added is human capital) of the EA. The primary principal of the Information perspective is information sharing and accessibility. Further, the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM) is driven by the enablement of sharing information across the federal government and to its partners. The methodology is as follows:

  • Consistently describe data (via metadata)
  • Register the data (to make it discoverable)
  • Develop standards for the exchange of data (to enable interoperability and accessibility)
  • Provide sound governance (including data policy and stewardship).

User-centric EA is driven to fulfill the vision of Net-centricity and ISE.

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