A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calls on Federal agencies to improve their terrorism-related information sharing with the intelligence community and other public and private partners.
Although Federal agencies have started projects to improve this information sharing, GAO said there has not been a program manager to review or assess the impact of these projects since 2017.
“As a result, it’s unclear if these programs are meeting the priority objectives set in the national information-sharing strategy,” GAO warns.
The Information Sharing Environment (ISE) is a framework to improve terrorism-related information sharing among Federal and non-Federal entities, such as Tribal, state, local, territorial, and private sector partners. The framework aims to improve information sharing through policy guidelines, common standards, and technologies.
Federal officials developed an implementation plan in 2013 that identified 16 priority objectives needed to implement the framework. As of 2017, Federal agencies – including the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence (ODNI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Justice (DoJ) – had completed all but three.
“However, since that time, there has not been a program manager to guide and assess those efforts. Assessing agencies’ progress with the ISE is a statutory responsibility of the program manager,” the report says. “Without someone in this position to assess agency efforts, how much work is needed to complete the ISE Implementation Plan’s’ remaining objectives remains undetermined.”
The watchdog agency also noted that the lack of a program manager has in part “stalled” the progress of completing the three remaining priority objectives.
GAO recommended that Congress consider amending the ISE’s enabling statute to clarify authorities for filling the program manager position. Additionally, it recommended that the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism take steps to ensure that a program manager is in place and implementation efforts are assessed.
The Executive Office of the President did not provide comments to GAO on the recommendations.