Discussion: information sharing in government agencies

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 Information sharing occurs between and among government agencies at federal, state, and local levels. For instance, many states and large cities have intelligence fusion centers in which a variety of government agencies at all levels share information and intelligence resources. While many people understand and access the need for information sharing between and among government agencies, some issues, concerns, and challenges arise when information is shared in the context of homeland security. If a proper balance is not struck between security and civil liberties, the results can be harmful. On the other hand, failure to share information also can result in negative consequences in terms of public health and safety. Becoming familiar with some of these issues and challenges related to information sharing will help you formulate your own critical assessment of the implications when information sharing is lacking or misguided. 

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review the assigned pages in Chapter 11 of your course text, Introduction to Homeland Security. Reflect on the definition and importance of risk and crisis communications and the role of media. In addition, reflect on the importance of public information from a national perspective.
  • Review Chapters 3 and 8 of the online article, “A Governor’s Guide to Homeland Security.” Reflect on the importance of and recommendations for improving risk and crisis communications and public information from the perspective of states.
  • Review the article, “Do You Know Where Your Information is in the Homeland Security Era?” Focus on the issues and challenges related to the use of information sharing, intelligence, biometrics, and data mining during heightened national anxiety or emergency.
  • Using the Internet, research a hazard or terrorist event—historical or contemporary—that occurred in the United States in which information sharing among government agencies in homeland security efforts posed challenges. Please select an event other than the 9/11 attacks or Hurricane Katrina.
  • Think about why information sharing between and among government agencies in the example you researched posed challenges.
  • Identify at least one implication of the lack of information sharing in such cases.


Required Readings

Bullock, J. A. , Haddow, G. D.  & Coppola, D. P. (2013). Introduction to homeland security (5th ed.). Waltham, MA: Elsevier Inc.

· Chapter 11, “Communications”

Seifert, J. W., & Relyea, H. C. (2004). Do you know where your information is in the homeland security era? Government Information Quarterly, 21(4), 399–405.

Jenkins, W. O. (2006). Collaboration over adaptation: The case for interoperable communications in homeland security. Public Administration Review, 66(3), 319–321. 

United States Government Accountability Office. (2007). First responders: Much work remains to improve communications interoperability. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07301.pdf
Note: You are only required to read pages 1–1 1 of this article.


NGA Center for Best Practices. (2007). A governor’s guide to homeland security. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/0703GOVGUIDEHS.PDFChapter 3, “Developing a Public Communications and Media Strategy”

· Chapter 8, “Intelligence and Information Sharing”

· Chapter 9, “Interoperability”

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Current issues in homeland security: Information sharing and communication. Baltimore: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 14 minutes.

Accessible player  –Downloads– Download Video w/CC Download Audio 

Optional Resources

Brito, J. (2007). Sending out an S.O.S.: Public safety communications interoperability as a collective action problem. Fed 

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