Opening Statement for Kshemendra Paul

Senate HSGAC Hearing

10 March 2011

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Chairman Lieberman, Ranking Member Collins and distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak about our efforts to effectively share and protect information at every level of government.  Thank you for your attention to information sharing reform efforts and support of my office’s mission.


I also want to recognize my fellow panelists – key partners in our government-wide efforts to further strengthen information sharing and protection.


Information Sharing and Protection Challenges and Opportunities

As the WikiLeaks story emerged, concerns were voiced that information sharing efforts would suffer a setback.  This Administration is committed to improving both information sharing and information protection.  While complex and challenging, we do not see a conflict between these goals.  Guidance throughout the Executive Branch has been consistent: we need to accelerate our information sharing in a responsible and secure way.   


The WikiLeaks breach is not principally an information sharing problem.  A bad actor allegedly violated the trust placed in him.  While we cannot always stop bad actors, we can take this opportunity to reassess our posture, our progress, and our focus regarding information sharing and protection.

The challenges highlighted by the WikiLeaks breach are complex and go to deeply rooted issues:

  • First, the perpetuation of agency-based, bi-lateral, and fragmented rather than common and comprehensive solutions for trusted, assured information sharing and protection
  • Second, the need to improve our counterintelligence posture and related technical considerations you have heard from my partners on this panel
  • Finally, while the breach involved classified information, the fundamental challenges associated with sharing and protection of sensitive information span all security domains.   

Background – Information Sharing Environment

I’d like to clarify the Information Sharing Environment and my role.


The purpose of the Information Sharing Environment is to improve the sharing of terrorism-, homeland security-, and weapons of mass destruction information – across the federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, as well as with the private sector and international partners.  The Information Sharing Environment spans 5 communities: Homeland Security, Intelligence, Defense, Law Enforcement and Foreign Affairs.  It is defined as a cross-cutting, trusted, data-centric information sharing and protection capability.


My role is to plan for, oversee the agency-based build out, and manage the Information Sharing Environment.  My office is not operational.  Agencies conduct mission operations.  Agencies develop and implement policies and procedures.  And agencies make investments to interconnect systems, networks, databases, and business processes.  Collectively, these contributions form the Information Sharing Environment.


The law grants the Program Manager government-wide authority – a capability exercised primarily through my co-chairing the White House’s Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee, and my partnership with the Office of Management and Budget.


Ongoing Efforts

We are being deliberate and collaborative in our approach to further strengthen information sharing and protection. 


We have put an emphasis on governance and outreach.  We are leading the process of refreshing the 2007 National Strategy for Information Sharing with our mission partners.  We are leveraging common mission equities to drive common policies and capabilities.  And we are orchestrating specific agency-led sharing and protection initiatives with our partners.


We believe this work provides a framework for strengthening efforts to address root cause issues associated with the WikiLeaks breach.  These capabilities will result in further assuring the proper sharing and protection of information.  


Our work across mission partners is profiled in our annual reports to Congress, as well as on our Information Sharing Environment community web site.  I encourage those interested in following or influencing our efforts to visit our website, and to participate in upcoming online dialogs aimed at shaping our future direction.



In closing, our efforts have been and continue to be focused on information sharing in a responsible and assured manner.   Effective information sharing and collaboration are absolutely essential to keeping the American people safe.


Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this hearing. 


Chairman, Ranking Member, and members of the Committee, I would appreciate any comments, direction, support or feedback you can provide to me and this office. My fellow panelists and I look forward to your questions.