he operators of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), Law Enforcement Online (LEO), the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS), and the Criminal Information Sharing Alliance Network (CISAnet) are working together to develop and implement a plan for interoperability among their systems. This plan, known as the Counterterrorism Collaboration Interoperability Project (CCIP), combines the best features of each of the partner systems to form a new connectivity and information sharing environment that will provide for more effective communications and more efficient responses to better deter, detect, and prevent criminal and terrorist activities.
Since July 2004, several meetings have taken place between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), RISS, and CISA to achieve interoperability among the systems and improve terrorist-related information. This initiative represents significant collaboration among several of the country's largest criminal justice information systems. The intent is to provide the widest distribution of general terrorist information across all law enforcement agencies and specific actionable information to agencies that have a need to know and act. This means that not all the information contained in each of the member systems will be accessible to every agent of the other organizations, but instead, each agency will determine what information it is willing to share, along with user-vetting requirements and protocols.
Ownership of information shared will remain with the agency that has collected it; however, each organization will allow the other participating member systems access to selected information that it has gathered and published. On September 20, 2004, HSIN, RISS, and CISAnet demonstrated the ability to post information in their individual databases and review and retrieve the information using the other systems. HSIN and LEO achieved connectivity by cross-posting of information between systems, which allows all users direct access to FBI and DHS information posted to the HSIN database.
To accomplish this important goal, the group developed a timeline that allows for systematic progress towards achieving interoperability. The first step in this process was to establish a clear understanding among all parties regarding technical requirements and operational needs. Once the requirements were met and operational agreement established, the technical ability was developed to allow direct access to HSIN, RISS, and CISAnet and post directly from LEO to HSIN, providing real-time ability to share and publish terrorist information among the participating members. This interoperability vision will be achieved in three stages:
- Near-term (two months): sharing and publishing appropriate finished products and documents; accomplished by September 20, 2004
- Mid-term (three to six months): expanding access to other federally funded systems involved in combating terrorism and enabling better collaboration capabilities among systems
- Long-term (12 to 18 months): enabling federated search capabilities and sharing chat and whiteboard information, data integration, protocols, standards and, possibly, single sign-on features
It is anticipated that this project, when complete, will have a tremendous positive impact on the ability of all levels of law enforcement to obtain and share information regarding criminal and terrorist activities. For additional information on the Counterterrorism Collaboration Interoperability Project, please call the DHS Information Sharing Office at 202-282-9400; the DOJ Office of the Chief Information Officer at 202-514-7589; or the CCIP Support Team at 850-385-0600, extension 325. ■