Bush evaluating ways to improve information sharing

Bush evaluating ways to improve information sharing

President Bush is reviewing recommendations on how agencies can better share terrorist information, and improve the integration of information systems.

The Information Systems Council submitted the suggestions to the president Dec. 25. Bush formed the interagency council through an executive order he issued in August.

'We were required to submit a plan by December on how we will move forward, how we will take the tenets of all the things in the executive order to promote terrorist information sharing,' said Karen Evans, Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and IT. 'The plan is under review, and we are waiting for the president's approval.'

Evans spoke Tuesday at a luncheon in McLean, Va., sponsored by the Gartner Group of Stamford, Conn.

Evans would not detail any information about the recommendations, but the executive order Bush signed said the plan must include milestones, identification of resources and funding. The Information Systems Council looked at the types of systems that need to be deployed and the guidelines that need to be established.

The council's recommendations did not deal with technology, but business process change, Evans said.

'When we brought them all together, the big goal for that group was to take the technology off the table,' Evans said. 'We all know that the big hurdles with sharing any type of information is not technology. It really is about how we conduct our business. What kind of information do you really want to share and how much privacy do you want to give up as an individual in the name of security?'

She added that the agency representatives from the Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury departments, and the CIA, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center focused on the business processes that need to be improved.

'We didn't have to solve the problem, we just came up with the plan on how to move forward so we were good about not setting too high a bar for us to be able to achieve,' Evans said. 'We knew it was a high-enough hurdle to get everyone in the room and talk about it and send forward good, solid recommendations to the president for him to make the decision.'

OMB will integrate a lot of the council's work into the newest Line of Business Consolidation initiative. The administration added information sharing as an LOB project in August, Evans said.

The Information Sharing LOB also is working closely with Justice and Homeland Security officials leading the Case Management Line of Business project, Evans said.

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