Mission Critical: Government Information Sharing

With so much emphasis on interoperable communications within government at all levels–federal, state, and local–we still banter over our inability to effectively and securely communicate with each other. This has been identified as a cornerstone of national security, yet it seems to continue to be a plaguing problem. There is arguably no greater priority for government than to resolve this issue. Complex? Yes. Possible? Absolutely.

Roger That
As much as I wish this were an April Fool’s joke, it isn’t. U.S. border security with Mexico is just another example of our need to nail down secure information-sharing solutions. How sound could our country’s infrastructure possibly be if we are experiencing tremendous difficulties just talking to each other? When communications are compromised, so too is our national security.

The Solution Exists
What if it was possible for federal, state, and local authorities to securely communicate with each other? But it might just be a matter of our inability to effectively communicate this message? How ironic is that?

Some of the world’s leading technology companies put their competitive egos on the shelf and attempted to tackle this issue head-on several years ago. Cisco, Microsoft, EMC, and other technology companies collaborated and formed an alliance to help design and deliver a secure information-sharing architecture to the U.S. government in order to address one of government’s most pressing needs. If a solution exists, then why hasn’t it been implemented? Perhaps the solution was not yet ready for primetime. Or maybe the challenge rests with the adoption of the solution in a government strewn with agencies that have competing priorities. After all, a few agencies that adopt a uniform information-sharing solution will hardly make a dent in overcoming the massive communications challenges we face. Adoption at all levels is required–this should not be a commercial sales effort, but rather a government mandate rolled into the FEA with performance measures tied to its implementation.

National Security Before You Tube
Admittedly, I was delighted to see that GSA was able to work through the agreements with social media in order to allow government to post on social media networks. If only as much attention and dedicated focus were placed on overcoming this issue of secure information sharing.

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