The ability for agencies within the Intelligence Community to share information/intelligence received a huge boost when Fusion Centers were developed. However, there are still obstacles with sharing information between federal agencies, between federal agencies and state/local law enforcement, and between the military and law enforcement. In a 4 page/double spaced essay review the obstacles that currently derail interagency intelligence sharing. conclude your essay with your recommendations on how this obstacle should be addressed.
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Interagency Intelligence Sharing – Sample Paper
Sharing of intelligence among different federal agencies is complex and usually confusing. Despite the fact that having a single point of contact to facilitate sharing of intelligence among different agencies is critical, it is vital to provide clarification and simplify the process. In contemporary U.S., multiple federal players have diverse mission and goals exist in the intelligence community. There are different rules on how and where intelligence should be shared among the agencies. Different agencies have different abilities to conduct intelligence as they have different infrastructure. Sharing intelligence is useless unless the agencies can use the information. Different agencies rely on personal relationships as the major means of facilitating the flow of intelligence information.
Despite various efforts by the federal government to facilitate intelligence sharing, there are still various obstacles to intelligence sharing. Lack of an effective leader in the Department of Homeland Security who would champion intelligence sharing is one of the major obstacles of intelligence sharing. This limits the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to share information with other government agencies and the private sector. Despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has various linkages with the private sector and other agencies, it does not leverage on the linkages to improve intelligence sharing.
Lack of knowledge of the critical infrastructure requirement among most members of the intelligence community is also one of the obstacles of intelligence sharing. Currently, no formal process that would help in identifying the requirements of vital infrastructure sector intelligence exists. In addition, there is no formal method of disseminating the intelligence to the intelligence community for collection, analysis and distribution. Despite the fact that various moves have been undertaken to correct this problem such as the establishment of Fusion Centers the problem still persists.
The tasking process of the intelligence community does not also consider the private sector infrastructure protection intelligence. Lack of a requirement to collect information that would be critical to the private sector makes it highly unlikely for the intelligence community to compile information that would enable the private sector to tackle various risks they may face.
The intelligence community is also created in such a manner that it provides ‘finished intelligence.’ Therefore, they discard various leads and fragments of information if the information does not fit with the final intelligence report. This is despite the fact that the fragmentary bits of information may be critical to other agencies. Loss of information derails the intelligence work of other agencies. The amount of information that various agencies share with each other is usually reactionary. The agencies share very little anticipatory intelligence.
The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies usually lack of a sufficient number of analysts who are trained on how to use intelligence and vital intelligence infrastructure. Lack of trained analysts makes it difficult for other agencies to have credibility with other members of the intelligence community. Lack of a standardized training or selection of analysts makes it difficult for various agencies to share intelligence.
Lack of consensus on what information should be shared between different government agencies also creates obstacles to information sharing. In addition, there is no consensus as to what critical infrastructure protection entails. This necessitates different government agencies to rely on personal relations to obtain information. People with experience in different government agencies are the most effective in sharing information.
Despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is tasked with the responsibility of disseminating critical intelligence reports it is not usually the agency from where the intelligence originates from. Therefore, it does not ‘own’ the information. This makes it be powerless in to disseminate the information. The agency that ‘owns’ the information should have to agree to the dissemination of information. Therefore, despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has the responsibility of disseminating information, it does not have the authority to disseminate the information. Department of Homeland Security has to build a consensus with the originating agency, which creates obstacles to intelligence sharing. In addition, since the department of Homeland Security is not the originating agency, it may not be sure as to what information it should disseminate. This creates excessive caution. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security is more inclined to share less information instead of more information. Lack of trained analysts is partly to blame for the tendency of the Department of Homeland Security to share less information. Laws also create obstacles to inter-agency intelligence sharing. Various laws prevent the sharing of information among different government agencies. Certain laws also prevent the disclosure of the sources of intelligence and the means used to obtain the information.
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Technical problems also create obstacles to the sharing of information. Firewalls between the databases of different agencies in the intelligence community makes sharing of information become difficult. For agencies to share information there should be a secure communication channel. In most instances, this is non-existent. Therefore, the agencies desist from sharing information if they believe that a third party would tap it.
Despite the fact that it would take time to tackle the obstacles of interagency intelligence sharing, improved resources and change in legislation would go a long towards tackling the problems. Problems associated with lack of willingness to cooperate with other agencies are more difficult to tackle. This is due to the fact that it involves agencies or representatives of agencies who make a willing decision not to cooperate or share information with other agencies.
Research shows that smaller, lower level intelligence agencies are usually more likely to collaborate with other agencies than larger, high-level intelligence agencies. Designating one agency as the ‘leader’ would help in increasing interagency intelligence sharing. The leader may be designated based on the size or assets of the agency or the importance of the agency in the intelligence report. The designation may be undertaken through the acknowledgment of other members or through a formal process. Designating a leader helps in improving interagency intelligence sharing as the leader would be in control of the process. Increasing the ability of agencies to act on intelligence reports would also help in improving interagency intelligence sharing. In some instances, failure to act on intelligence reports makes the agencies hands be tied.
Establishment of a formal process of sharing information would also help in improving interagency intelligence sharing. This is due to the fact that it would increase the consistency of information in the intelligence community. The process should include methods of reconciling different agencies. It should also provide a balance between critical infrastructure and law enforcement when withholding information may have negative impact on the infrastructure.
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