CompuSat Services Incorporated (CSI), a Montana corporation, announces the launch of the Federated Intelligence Network. The FedIntel network is a secure, role based, single sign-on, single point of entry, web based portal for Homeland Security and FEMA emergency management services. The FedIntel network provides a common ground for information sharing and collaboration across a wide spectrum of homeland security systems.
The FedIntel Network is modeled after the National Response Plan, NRP, and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, NIPP. Councils, committees, centers and agencies specified in the plans will have information sharing and collaboration centers on the portal. The FedIntel network is built on Microsoft’s SharePoint 2007 technology and is integrated with Microsoft Exchange and Office Communications Server providing information sharing, messaging, and real-time collaboration.
The DHS government and critical sector web portals have been in production for over a year. The two portals essentially make up the foundation of the Homeland Security Information Network, HSIN. There have been numerous hearings, findings, and press releases about the short comings of this $71 million dollar information sharing system. The GAO (General Accounting Office) is wondering where the money went.
The HSIN system was developed from a conglomeration of misfit applications, numerous chiefs and no direction. As a result, there has been disorganized chaos, false starts, limited buy-in from state and local agencies and, in general, a very slow adoption rate. At the time the HSIN system moved from a pilot to a live portal, (June of 2006), the NIPP and the NRP were not part of the design plan of the portal. The NIPP and the NRP have since reorganized and collected the disjointed practices into a forward thinking plan.
Up to this point, DHS, FEMA, and many other organizations have been operating as individual systems with a plethora of “SILO” type information and operations management systems, see “Current Situation” diagram. CSI’s research has discovered that there has been no coordinated effort to build a cohesive nationwide interagency program. According to state and local agencies, federal systems have been developed without consulting the state and local users. State and local systems work well in their environment but do not interact with other federal, state or local systems. Systems like LEO, RISSNET, CyberCOP, WebEOC and others are out of date. Some are 8-10 years old. Systems like HSIN, HITRAC, NADB, CIPIS and SARS are also out of date and poorly designed. Obsolete software and lack of interoperability describe the current state of chaos.
Power plays by big business and political positioning are actually the biggest obstacles to progress. As an example, several large companies were involved in the rollout of HSIN. Continuous positioning for control and a lack direction prevented them from delivering a unified system. Good companies with good intentions. Add to that the mixed signals from government agencies and you end up with a limited and dysfunctional system. DHS has been struggling to find viable solutions.
DISA had similar issues with the Defense On-Line Portal. The portal was deployed a couple years ago and has had very limited adoption. The primary limiting factor was policy. Government agencies and big businesses building the system could not produce enabling policies to facilitate propagation of the system. As a result nothing got done. Communities of interest stopped using the system because they couldn’t get what they wanted. The Joint Chiefs knew what they wanted but couldn’t get it, mostly from a lack of buy-in from middle commanders due to pet projects and other stove pipe scenarios. The Army thinks AKO, an Appian portal, is the way to go. The Navy, SPAWAR and NORTHCOM prefer a SharePoint solution. The Air Force likes IBM but is migrating to SharePoint. The latest fad is DKO. (Defense Knowledge On-Line) DKO will be another stove-pipe system. It will have only limited interoperability with existing systems.
The Quantum Leap:
Now that there is a plan, CSI believes the HSIN system and several others should to be upgraded to fit the plan. The "Federated Intelligence Network" will be that upgrade. CSI has engineered a quantum leap to the next level of order in chaos by creating the next generation of information sharing services to provide the right information to the right people at the right time. The new architecture is based on the NRP and the NIPP directives. The FedIntel Network (fedintel.net) is designed to support almost every aspect of and entity identified in the plans. Plan councils, committees, and coordination centers will have information sharing centers and work spaces on the FedIntel Network. State branches of the network will support state, local and tribal command and control and information sharing centers for SLT management and operations. The FedIntel Network will include an emergency management branch to support FEMA regional coordination centers that support state and field operations centers, JFOs, EOCs and ICPs. In addition, new features of Microsoft Exchange Unified Communication and Office Communications Server will add unprecedented collaboration functionality.
The system is designed to provide a data repository with secure and controlled access to homeland security information across government, military and non-government domains. The architecture of the security and information processing system facilitate regulated sharing of a variety of classifications of information including: FOIA, PCII, unclassified and classified data and supports NIEM and ISE recommendations for data typing.
CSI proposes a unified system for homeland security and defense. The system will consist of a central operations center linked to a collection of regional centers that are in turn linked to state and local centers. The NRP and NIPP will be applied to the central and regional agencies. Fusion centers, state and critical sector ISACs will also feed into central operations and regional centers. CSI’s (soon to be released) version of NIMS and a Unified Incident Command system will feed into the regional centers. CSI will propose a five year plan to establish the infrastructure and operations of the system. CSI will also propose that government employees staff the centers and become a unified homeland security network supporting emergency management as well as counterterrorism operations.
FedIntel’s defense components are designed to support homeland defense and counterterrorism activities. NORTHCOM, JFCOM, and EUCOM, in addition to other military commands, will have operations centers on the system for coordination of military operations related to homeland defense. Combat operations are outside the scope of FedIntel’s CONOPS. CSI is working with JFCOM and EUCOM to extend the functionality of FedIntel to international theaters.
CSI (csiwebservices.net) is also in the process of re-engineering several existing applications, including tools such as: Incident Reporting and management, Suspicious Activity Reporting (SARS), Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII), Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis (HITRAC), National Asset Database (NADB), and several others. These applications will be added to the network and will be fully integrated with it. In addition, CSI has begun developing services to integrate with other third party information services including: FBI Law Enforcement Online LEO, RISSNET, InfraGard, Cybercop, PM-ISE, and several others as they are identified.
CSI's goal is to introduce the Federated Intelligence Network to all agencies and organizations identified in the NIPP and NRP.
FedIntel and CompuSat are registered trademarks of CompuSat Services.