U.S. quietly piloting info-sharing playbook for cops, spies

Kshemendra Paul, here seen speaking at the 2013 Red Hat Government Symposium, serves as program manager of the Information Sharing Environment at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (FedScoop)

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The Office of Director of National Intelligence is testing a playbook to help law enforcement, intelligence and national security agencies build and enhance their own information sharing environments.

ODNI’s Standards Coordinating Council for information sharing this month quietly released the “beta test version 2” of its Information Sharing and Safeguarding Environment Playbook. Developed by nonprofit law enforcement information sharing corporation the IJIS Institute, the playbook is based on the U.S. Digital Services Playbook, ISE Program Manager Kshemendra Paul said Thursday.

The tool is rooted around four different concepts: security and privacy controls, a maturity model, reuse of frameworks and tools, and communities of interest, Paul said, emphasizing that final concept.

“In the government, any big problem requires a community of interest,” he told the audience at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance breakfast event in Tysons Corner, Virginia. “Nobody solves big problems all by themselves.”

In its current state, the IS&S Playbook stands at 15 plays, starting from understanding what users need all the way through defining capabilities, implementing a plan and finally scaling it. But Paul also highlighted that the playbook can be used by organizations of varying maturities. That is, agencies don’t necessarily have to start at the first play and follow through in order.

“The Playbook is intended to allow users at any point in a process to pick up the document, identify where they are in the process, and then move forward,” the playbook’s appendix says.

Like the USDS Playbook, the ISE tool is rooted in user-centered design principles. “Taking the if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach often does not work – it can be a costly failure and it can result in irreversible damage to trust in the project goals,” the playbook reads. “The continuous engagement of the end user throughout the entire process will increase the probability of IS&S Environment success.”

Tools like the playbook and others, Paul said, are meant to help “agencies scale trust.”

“When you go between communities or between agencies or levels of government, you don’t have trust, because it’s not a traditional sharing relationship,” he said, noting that the process is heavily rooted in policies and standards. “When you want to scale trust, you have to accept that you’re going to…share with people you don’t necessarily know, but there are frameworks in place that you can trust.”

ODNI and the ISE program management team are currently piloting the playbook with many of their partners across the federal, state and local levels, Paul said. The offices are open to any comments or feedback on the playbook to help shape future versions of it.

Contact the reporter who wrote this story at Billy.Mitchell@FedScoop.com, or follow him on Twitter at @BillyMitchell89.

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Defense & Intelligence, Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, Government IT News, Information Sharing, Information sharing environment, intelligence community (IC), Kshemendra Paul, law enforcement, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), shared services
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