Watchdog says counterterrorism information sharing system needs program manager

GAO says the lack of a designated official makes it hard to track whether previously identified issues with the system have been addressed.
Close-up shot of female hands typing on computer keyboard, lying on bed, working late at home. (Image credit: Getty Images)

An interagency counterterrorism information-sharing system that was established after 9/11 needs to appoint a program manager, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In an audit published Monday, the congressional watchdog said that the information and technology-sharing initiative known as the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) has not had a program manager since 2017.

GAO said: “Without assessments from a program manager or other designated entity, the impact of agencies’ ISE-related efforts on completing the open priority objectives is unknown. Consequently, it remains unclear how much work remains for the ISE implementation plan overall.”

According to the watchdog, following the resignation of the system’s program manager in 2017, functions of the program manager’s office were redistributed to other offices within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


The Federal Information Sharing Environment is a platform that was established following recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to improve the sharing of law enforcement information between federal, state and local, and private sector entities through the use of standardized policies and technology systems.

In its report, GAO noted that conflicting statutory provisions have played a role in delaying the appointment of a new program manager.

The system is one of several technology platforms used by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to share terrorism-related information with non-federal and private sector partners.

In April last year, DHS announced that it would replace its well-known information-sharing portal, the Homeland Security Information Network. This is the agency’s platform for sharing sensitive but unclassified information with federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, international, and private sector entities.

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