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Vantage Point: Do Information Sharing and Collaboration Have a Future?

In 2019, the threats facing our nation's critical infrastructure still exist and are evolving as modern technologies are introduced into our society. The internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, edge computing, machine learning, and quantum computing are a sampling of modern technologies that promise to make our lives better. Along with bringing benefits, modern technologies will also introduce new critical infrastructure weaknesses for adversaries to exploit.

How these modern technologies will drive innovation is uncertain. What isn't uncertain is that none of them will replace the need for information sharing and collaboration among people and organizations. The human element in safeguarding our critical infrastructure isn't going to go away. In last month's Vantage Point, Brandon Ahrens shared InfraGardNCR's mission statement and goals. The chapter's first goal is to promote information sharing and collaboration which depends on the human element.

When InfraGardNCR conducted its annual membership survey in October and November 2018, we learned most of our most of our survey respondents do not share information with the FBI because of concerns about legal/regulatory risk or have company policies in place that prevent sharing information with the FBI.

Sharing information to protect critical infrastructure is not a new idea. The 9/11 Commission identified information sharing as a means for protecting the United States against continuously evolving threats that cut across organizational boundaries. Because most of the critical infrastructure in the United States is privately owned, the U.S. Government, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), put together an information sharing architecture to promote information sharing and collaboration with a national network of fusion centers, a suspicious activity reporting initiative, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), and the public awareness campaign (If You See Something, Say Something®).

The premise behind information sharing and collaboration is that everyone in a group shares information with others for the collective good. InfraGard is an association of people who represent businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and others who are dedicated to sharing information to prevent hostile acts against the United States. The benefit of receiving information is obvious. The challenge is encouraging each of us, and the organizations we belong to, to do so.

At InfraGardNCR's Annual Member Meeting on January 23 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Capital One Arena (601 F Street NW, Washington DC 20004), the chapter will be discussing its goals and objectives and other programs in more detail. We will also learn how the team at Capital One Arena keeps the arena safe at all their events. Tickets are available here. I look forward to meeting you at the Annual Meeting.

The leadership of InfraGardNCR is committed to information sharing and collaboration - to doing our part in protecting the nation's critical infrastructure. If we can help you or your organization promote information sharing and collaboration in your organization, please let us know. After our next annual membership survey, we look forward to sharing the chapter's collective progress on this goal in 2020!

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