NIAC chair details information sharing study mandate

By Max Cacas
Federal News Radio

Last this week, we reported to you that the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, better known as NIAC, has been given two additional requests for infrastructure resilience security studies by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

The chairman of NIAC is Erle Nye, chairman emeritus of the TXU Corporation. During NIAC’s recent quarterly meeting here in Washington, Federal News Radio spoke exclusively to Chairman Nye about one of the study requests, dealing with “information sharing” between federal, state, and local officials. He says this request builds on the panel’s past work.

In a past study, we did a good bit of work at the request of either the President or the Secretary (of Homeland Security) with regard to information sharing. Information sharing that was focused primarily between federal officials and infrastructure providers. Better than three-quarters of our infrastructure is provided by private enterprise. So it’s very important to share between the public sector and the private sector. We did a very thorough study at the time. John Chambers headed up that study at the time. John’s no longer on the council, but I think they did a very thorough job.

As a result, there was quite a bit of organizational activity that allowed for some orderly information sharing. I think there’s a feeling among the current administration, and I agree with that, that it’s time to revisit that, not only to see how we’re doing between the public sector and the private sector, but between the states, the counties, the cities, certainly the other constituencies that we serve, to make sure that the people who need knowledge, who need information around pending events or prospective events, will have that information, and have it in a timely fashion.

NIAC is expected to hold its next quarterly meeting on July 13th, gathering again at the National Press Club. Nye says that NIAC is currently evaluating the information sharing study request, and is expected to form a study group to comply with that request, along with another request to study the nation’s emergency services sector, when that quarterly meeting takes place.

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