National security of any country in the world is very critical. In fact, national security and peace in general is a pivot that strongly supports all other socio-cultural, economic and political activities in a country. Without peace, people cannot invest in the country due to the fear that their investment can be under threat. The society that is living in fear of insecurity is barren culturally because the interaction amongst the citizens is highly hindered. United States of America is no exception. Peace is a treasured national asset, and the government of the people must thus protect peace with all the resources at its disposal, both financial and information resources. Since the 2001 September terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the United States’, government has taken a proactive role in addressing the issue of its people, both within and beyond its borders.
In line with this realization, the Obama administration has formulated a very keen, active and concerted efforts approach towards maintaining and sustaining the states’ security. The administration has effectively and efficiently strengthened and supported all the efforts that are solely geared and aimed at addressing the security situation in America. One of the agencies that are instrumental in addressing the issue of the national security is the office of the Director on National Intelligence. In general terms, the main role of this office is to integrate the intelligence activities amongst all the concerned agencies of government, which are mandated with overseeing sustainable security and peace across America, through the utilization of intelligence information with consequent sharing of that information.
On the other hand, national strategy for information sharing and safeguarding is a policy framework that helps in setting the standards, procedures and protocols to be strictly followed by the government department charged with security when sharing the intelligence information. Intelligence information is highly vital information that is used in decision making. However, it should be noted that intelligence information must have certain qualities and features, for it to be beneficial to a country.
First, intelligence information must be provided in a timely manner. Just as it is said that justice delayed is justice denied, the same case applies to any intelligence information. Information on a state security should be given and disclosed when collected and verified so that it can aid in decision making. When information is delayed, then it means that a terrorist or criminal act will take place, and innocent people may be killed, harmed and injured permanently. It is believed that, in the period before the September 11 attack, the information was collected by the intelligence but it was not disclosed in a timely fashion, thus the leading to disaster with the consequent death of thousands of people.
The second parameter is that the information must be within the authorized locus. Intelligence information is highly sensitive information. In today’s world, there exist many enemies of peace and stability of the American people worldwide. Thus, it is imperative that only the authorized people and state apparatus should be in possession of the intelligence information. In line with this feature, it is also important that all the state officials and agencies in America should consult widely to avoid inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of the intelligence agencies. This simply means that wide consultation and sharing of intelligence among the authorized personalities should be encouraged.
The office of director of national intelligence should coordinate and work within the recommendation and emphasis of the strategy of intelligence information sharing. This is because the strategy describes a framework that guides the security and intelligence initiatives in United States of America. It supports and aligns the intelligence collection, analysis and its consequent implementation. Thus, we find out the role of the office of the Director of Intelligence in the national strategy for information sharing and safeguarding. The office of the Director of Intelligence derives its powers and jurisdiction from the NSISS. As stated earlier, this strategy paper is a policy framework that seeks to set out detailed guidelines that streamline the intelligence activities for the sake of welfare of all Americans. Thus, the office is tasked with implementing the entire strategy paper so that its benefits can trickle down to the ordinary citizen in America. The ODNI, therefore, uses the strategy as its guiding ray in its intelligence endeavors, so that it does not work in a haphazard manner, which is not guided by any policy framework. This is done so in order to prevent the American enemies from exploiting any loophole in the existing intelligence laws and regulations and unleash harm to the Americans on their own soil and even in their residential places outside America.
The ODNI is also tasked with suggesting any improvement, additions and omissions that may exist in the strategy and that may prevent it from performing optimally as intended by the Federal Government. In this spirit, therefore, the ODNI will assist the state in its periodic review of NSSSI because it will have identified all its strengths and weaknesses during its implementation regime, in advance. It is important that any policy framework is reviewed annually so that its benefits and disadvantages can be ascertained and hence additions or omissions implemented, in order to make it more effective and productive.
The NSSSI highly emphasizes information sharing and safeguarding. These two components are equally important, but information sharing is slightly vital because intelligence information is only useful if it is shared among the relevant state agencies. The goals of the ODNI mainly revolve around information sharing under the following goals.
It creates a tradition of information sharing. It is responsible for entrenching the culture of integrated information sharing by ensuring that it recognizes the staff, which is excellent in sharing of the collected data, and use this as a basis for issuing awards and employee motivation schemes like promotions. In his preamble, President Obama noted that the September attack was also occasioned by lack of wide intelligence information sharing amongst the government agencies.
It also addresses the barriers to information sharing and safeguarding. Sometimes it may happen that failed information sharing occurs not by default but as a result of challenges within the government systems and structure. The office thus makes sure that it appeals to the state to provide adequate and necessary resources, such as financial, technical and human resources and in thus make sure there is effective and efficient information sharing amongst the concerned agencies. This way, a well-integrated information sharing network is properly maintained, and benefits from the synergistic effects occasioned by wide information sharing are realized. The office also endeavors to leverage on the technology and information system par say to promote enhanced and sustained wide information sharing network. In order to understand the correlation that exists between the two, it is inevitable that we have to know the goals of the National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (NSISS). The ensuing discussion explains these goals and how ODNI will implement them fully.
The first goal is to ensure collaboration in information sharing. NSSSI seeks to ensure that there is sharing of intelligence information in a manner that is transparent, so as to ensure that no information is hidden from some concerned stakeholders as this may jeopardize decision making; thus, leading to the uninformed decisions owing to inadequate available information. ODNI thus exists to promote extensive information sharing mechanisms in line with the existing security needs in the country. Conspiracy of silence would be a disaster in the wake of increasing security threats to the American people all over the world.
The second goal is that of improving information access, collection and discovery. For it to be beneficial, the intelligence information should be accurately collected. This implies that for it to assist in the best decision formulation it should be of high quality. The office of the Director of National Intelligence seeks to use modern sophisticated technology to accurately obtain information from everywhere. The office also seeks to leverage on technology to analyze and process this information for the benefits of the security improvement and maintenance. A very important aspect is that of access. The information should be accessible to authorized personalities and institutions.
The third goal is that of ensuring there are shared platforms and operations to improve the effectiveness of information sharing. The technology enables the office of the Director of National Intelligence to benefit from effective and efficient management and sharing of information. This is done via the modern superb management information systems that are using such concepts as cloud computing, which enables information as well as data sharing by the authorities in the intelligence arena in all levels of intelligence management across the United States of America.
The fourth vital goal is that of information safeguarding. The data collected and processed into information should be stored and handled carefully to make sure it does not fall into the wrong hands. Information that lands on the foreign spies is used against the Americans, and thus it is disastrous to expose the intelligence information especially to the unauthorized persons. Today information security is a global problem because of existence of the cybercrimes and hacking of systems. Intelligence information in wrong hands may be used by the enemies for their long term planning on how to destabilize America and its people. ODNI is thus mandated with ensuring that the information systems used in intelligence collection and analysis are well maintained and secure to prevent instances of hacking. It does routine monitoring of the system to identify any flaw and insert tight security features in the system to ensure the security of information. It also ensures staff commitment to secrecy and hinders sharing of information with the outsiders.
The fifth and last goal concerns the protection of private right and civil liberty as regards to both compliance and consistency. The members of the public should not be victimized if they volunteer vital information to the intelligence agencies in the United States of America. The ODNI undertakes the government to protect the people who volunteer vital information from any acts of killings and assassinations by the killers with an aim of concealing the evidence they have. It ensures that such people are not in any way harassed or victimized in order to promote the culture of information sharing and forwarding among the public members.
The National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (NSISS) is viewed as a very vital document by anybody in the intelligence field. It outlines the government expectations and stand as far as intelligence collection and analysis are concerned. It acts as their manual and guideline in the course of their activities so that it meets the standards and quality of the intelligence endeavors, for the benefit of the continued security in the entire United States of America. It also acts as a wake-up call to them to expedite their services for the benefits of the state because the document views the national security as a national asset, which the intelligence community should endeavor to protect by all means and manner.
In conclusion, it is apparent that the National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding provides a vital policy framework and a manual to the office of the Director of National Intelligence. It assists the ODNI to undertake its mandate in an orderly, consistent manner that is in line with the national goals of the intelligence concerns. Office of the Director of Intelligence has a mountainous task since there has been an upsurge of acts of terrorism in the world, and thus it has to up its functions to ensure the country is aware of any potential attack by terrorists within and outside of the United States of America.