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Homeland Security

Information Sharing: A Vital Resource for a Shared National Mission to Protect Critical Infrastructure

Information Sharing Enables Decisionmaking

Photo of the Office of Infrastructure Protection

The Department’s Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) works with a networked alliance of partners to enable informed decisions and timely actions among the 18 critical infrastructure sectors as they execute critical infrastructure protection and resilience activities. IP supports information-sharing mechanisms that allow informed action on three levels:

  • Strategic planning and investment to inform effective risk management decisions;
  • Situational awareness in steady state (normal) operations and during a crisis or event, including suspicious activity reporting, incident analysis, and recommended protective actions; and
  • Operational and tactical planning and execution

IP facilitates information sharing through the following:

  • Alerts, threats, and warnings — Immediate transmission catalyzes action.
  • Effective risk management programs — Informs private sector investment decisions and government analysis and planning.
  • Collaboration and coordination — Supports the development of plans, strategies, protective measures, preparedness, risk mitigation, and response and recovery efforts.

Information shared within a structured and secure information sharing environment helps critical infrastructure owners and operators guide investments, implement protective programs, and ensure effective response to infrastructure threats as they arise.

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The Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Information Sharing Environment

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, signed into law December 2004, established the Director of National Intelligence and called for the creation of a National Information Sharing Environment (ISE). The Office of Infrastructure Protection was charged with implementing the primary private sector component of the national ISE, and in 2007 established the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Information Sharing Environment (CIKR ISE).

The CIKR ISE is a unique framework that provides the tools needed to allow security partners to share vital information, which in turn helps them manage their infrastructure security and risk, respond to events, and enhance resilience.

Through the CIKR ISE, all partners have a stake in setting the individual information-sharing requirements that best suit the needs of each critical infrastructure sector.

IP works closely with each participating Sector Coordinating Council, Government Coordinating Council, and their respective Information Sharing Working Groups to identify for each sector what information is meaningful, how it is best distributed, who receives it, and how it is protected. These "knowledge networks" ensure that the right data, information, and knowledge is gathered and shared with the right people. Visit Critical Infrastructure Protection Partnerships for more information.

IP is also working closely with state and major urban area fusion centers and regional partnerships and coalitions to ensure timely information is available to the communities and local responders who need it. Learn more about Regional Partnerships and Mission Collaboration.

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Tools to Support Information Sharing

The Department has established several operations and tools to support information sharing within and among the critical infrastructure sectors. These include:

  • Homeland Security Information Network-Critical Sectors (HSIN-CS) — HSIN is a secure Web-based platform that facilitates sharing of sensitive information and fosters collaboration among federal, state, local, tribal, private sector, and international partners. HSIN-CS is the section of HSIN that focuses on providing information sharing with the Department’s critical infrastructure protection partners. HSIN-CS also provides collaboration capabilities for the 18 critical infrastructure sectors.
  • Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Program — The PCII Program works with government organizations and the private sector to protect critical infrastructure information needed for incident management, as well as steady state operations and preparedness.
  • Homeland Infrastructure Threat & Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC) — HITRAC is the joint fusion center of IP and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. It is the preeminent national center for the integration, analysis, and sharing of information regarding risk of terrorist attacks and other hazards to critical infrastructure.
  • National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC) — The NICC is a 24-hour watch center that maintains situational and operational awareness, communication, and coordination among the critical infrastructure public and private stakeholders.
  • DHS Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report – The Daily Report is a summary of open-source published information about significant critical infrastructure issues.

The Department partners with other organizations to provide additional information-sharing support to its security partners.

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Last Published Date: November 20, 2014
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