In your opinion, what will remain the major obstacle to Intelligence and Information-Sharing as the nation’s Homeland Security activities and plans mature?
Information sharing between various departments and agencies is vital for the realization of effectiveness in counter-terrorism efforts. Over the years, the DHS has evolved to embrace different agencies and to involve as many actors both in the public and private sectors in measures aimed at fighting terror. Despite these measures, Homeland Security activities continue to face numerous obstacles in regard to intelligence and information sharing.
Ineffective communication sharing between local and federal law enforcement agencies has been identified as a key cause of America’s failure to thwart the September 11 attacks (Best, 1). According to the Department of Homeland Security, the department aims at ensuring that the right kind of information is delivered to the relevant administrators on time without violating people’s civil liberties and privacy interests (7).
As the nation’s Homeland Security plans and activities mature, I believe that the major obstacle to Intelligence and Information sharing will be the poor level of interoperability within the DHS. The DHS is an amalgamation of 22 previously-independent agencies working with and reporting to different superiors. This means that the department is yet to fully adopt a set of shared organizational culture and values that would ease the flow of interagency information arising from improved employee relations. Currently, the different agencies that operate under the department report to the department secretary who may not be conversant with the diverse jurisdiction and roles of the DHS, thus resulting from deliberate and accidental information-sharing gaps due to employee discontent. In a nutshell, there is a great need for the Department of Homeland Security to streamline its organizational structure to ensure that all agencies and departments under the Homeland Security docket feel like functional parts of an integrated system that must work harmoniously to achieve their desired goals.
Department of Homeland Security. DHS Information Sharing and Safeguarding Strategy. 2013. Web.
Best, Richard. CRS Report for Congress: Sharing Law Enforcement and Intelligence Information. Congressional Research Service, 2007. Web.