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Sharing Information with the Private Sector

As the terrorist attacks on transportation infrastructure in London and Madrid demonstrate, critical infrastructure can be a prime target for the transnational terrorist enemy we face today. The private sector owns and operates an estimated 85% of infrastructure and resources that are critical to our Nation's physical and economic security. It is, therefore, vital to ensure we develop effective and efficient information sharing partnerships with private sector entities. Important sectors of private industry have made significant investments in mechanisms and methodologies to evaluate, assess, and exchange information across regional, market, and security-related communities of interest. This Strategy builds on these efforts to adopt an effective framework that ensures a two-way flow of timely and actionable security information between public and private partners.

Efforts to improve information sharing with the private sector have initially focused on sharing with the owners and operators of our Nation's critical infrastructure and key resources. In accordance with the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, we are currently implementing a networked approach to information sharing that allows distribution and access to information both horizontally and vertically using secure networks and coordination mechanisms, allowing information sharing and collaboration within and among sectors. It also enables multi-directional information sharing between government and industry that focuses, streamlines, and reduces redundancy in reporting to the greatest extent possible.

These processes are enabling the integration of private sector security partners, as appropriate, into the intelligence cycle and National Common Operating Picture. Moreover, sector security partners are becoming more confident that the integrity and confidentiality of their sensitive information can and will be protected and that the information sharing process can produce actionable information regarding threats, incidents, vulnerabilities, and potential consequences to critical infrastructure and key resources. These efforts are being integrated into broader efforts to establish the ISE.

It is important to note that critical infrastructure and key resource owners and operators utilize a number of mechanisms that facilitate the flow of information, mitigate obstacles to voluntary information sharing, and provide feedback and continuous improvement regarding structure and process. These include the Sector Coordination Councils, Government Coordination Councils, National Infrastructure Coordinating Center, Sector-level Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (commonly referred to as ISACs), DHS Protective Security Advisors, the DHS Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC), and State and major urban area fusion centers. These mechanisms accommodate a broad range of sector cultures, operations, and risk management approaches and recognize the unique policy and legal challenges for full two-way sharing of information between private sector owners and operators and government, as well as the important requirements for efficient operational processes.

Our efforts to improve information sharing with the private sector have been guided by a number of important factors:

Accordingly, as we improve efforts to share terrorism-related information with the private sector we must continue to:

We will continue to build upon existing successful information sharing partnerships in a variety of areas key to our national security. Those include programs such as the following:

The President also created the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). The NIAC is charged to make recommendations on improving the cooperation and partnership between the Federal Government and industry, for the purpose of securing the critical infrastructures. The advice from the NIAC is meant to assist the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security in the development of policies and strategies that range from risk assessment and management to information sharing, protective measure, and clarification on roles and responsibilities between public and private sectors.

Finally, the needs and capabilities of the private sector, particularly those entities considered to be critical infrastructure or key resources, will be incorporated into efforts to establish a national, integrated network of State and major urban area fusion centers and to produce "federally coordinated" terrorism-related information products at NCTC.

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