Information sharing is a tough problem. Besides the obvious technical issues of differences in computing platforms, instruction set architectures, operating systems, programming languages and the plethora of choices in data formats, there are difficult legal and just plain human issues. Do I have the right to see your data? Do you have the right to share data? How long can I keep data, whether it's personal data, trading data, air route data, energy use data or something else? The apparent “intelligence failures” that failed to avert the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in Pennsylvania, New York & Washington were acknowledged to be information sharing issues, though not necessarily “failures” given the enormous quantity of information pouring into the relatively large number of American intelligence agencies. Could that information have been coordinated better? How about integrating intelligence information from American allies in Europe, the Far East and Middle East?
These are the top-of-mind issues that were on the table this week at the Workshop on Information Sharing and Safeguarding Standards (WIS3, colloquially known as the “Standards Palooza”) in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (a mouthful to be sure, but still better than ODNI/PM-ISE!), the event featured over 200 attendees from two national governments, US state leadership, small and large IT vendors and solutions providers, academia and IT and government industry analysts.
After a brief welcome by Kshemendra Paul, the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (and a longtime friend of OMG who will be giving a plenary address at the next OMG Technical Meeting in Santa Clara next Wednesday), I moderated a panel discussion to help clarify what the challenges facing standards-based information sharing really entail. I was joined by Kshemendra, and Kathleen Turco, Associate Administrator, Office of Government-wide Policy, GSA and Scott Bernard, Federal Chief Enterprise Architect, OMB. After we had that discussion, we moved into breakout sessions and got to the real meat of the conference. (See below for some photos from the event, courtesy of Jean Borman.) Topics included:
- Supporting Standardized Information Exchanges Across Government
- Identity and Access Management Across Government
- Federated Information Sharing Frameworks and Services
- Translation of Business Requirements into Solutions
Presenters and moderators hailed from organizations such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, OGC, DoD, ACT-IAC, AFEI, Protiviti, Booz Allen Hamilton, OASIS, Los Angeles County Information Systems Advisory Body, IJIS, DCGS, Global, CBP, ODNI, SAIC, No Magic, PKH Enterprises, and ASMG.
After refueling, the group reconvened to hear about the Department of Health and Human Services, Standards-based Information Sharing (showing that the problems of integration obviously extend past the intelligence and defense communities to provision of health services, to State Department embassy and consular communications, etc.). A panel moderated by Paul Wormeli, Executive Director Emeritus, IJIS, covered Standards Challenges and Solutions. Joining him were Anthony Hoang, Managing Director, NIEM PMO, Mark Reichardt, President and CEO, OGC, Scott McGrath, COO, OASIS, Dave Usery, President and CEO, URL Integration and myself.
The leaders of the breakout group sessions presented their findings in a panel session moderated by Amy Maida, PM-ISE. Laura Thibodeaux, ACT-IAC, Dave Chesebrough, AFEI, Steve Ambrosini, IJIS and Larry Johnson, OMG (co-chair of OMG’s Government Domain Task Force) talked about the next steps needed to reach the next generation landscape for their respective topics.
To wrap up the conference, Kshemendra moderated a “Senior Leaders” panel, where the participants (Al Tarasiuk, Intelligence Community (IC) CIO, Donna Roy, Information Sharing Executive, DHS, Glen Johnson, Director of Messaging Systems, DoS, and Neill Tipton, Director, Information Sharing & Partner Engagement OUSD(I)) provided their perspectives on standards-based information sharing and brief responses on the breakout session results presentations from earlier.
All in all it was a packed schedule with a lot of information exchanged (forgive the pun). OMG is already working to address some of the challenges of information sharing with the UML Profile for NIEM, which is in progress now. The goal of the UML Profile for NIEM is to represent the semantics of NIEM while being agnostic of its structural representation, to leverage standards and standards based tools, to reduce complexity and lower the barrier for entry and to facilitate reuse of NIEM models and as a result schemas. For more information on the UML Profile for NIEM click here.
Keep an eye on this space for a report late in 2011 (or perhaps early in 2012) outlining the “low-hanging fruit” that this group plans to pick & present in 2012. And see the sort of thing that groups of dedicated people can agree to in the report from the 2010 event, now set to be an annual event for the foreseeable future.