How Do We Know What Information Sharing Is Really Worth? Exploring Methodologies to Measure the Value of Information Sharing and Fusion Efforts
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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Information sharing between security, intelligence, and law enforcement organizations has become a central focus of U.S. domestic security efforts. The value of being able to better connect the dots to detect threats is obvious, and the identification of failures to do so after incidents occur is routine. The importance of information sharing also reaches beyond counterterrorism and domestic security, with multiagency and multijurisdictional data systems playing central roles in fighting crime more broadly. Yet, in spite of the intense focus on information sharing, the ability to fairly and accurately measure the value of these--sometimes expensive--efforts remains limited. Anecdotes of success and failure can be found on both sides, resulting in a policy debate that has been insufficiently productive to effectively weigh investments in this area. The analysis presented here attempts to help address that shortfall by exploring methodologies to enable better evaluation of information sharing and fusion activities. The framing of the analysis is intentionally broad, covering not only high-profile terrorism information sharing efforts, like the Department of Homeland Securitys fusion center program, but also systems used every day by police departments to share records and biometric data to apprehend criminal suspects. The report discusses the evaluation concerns for such systems, reviews the literature that has sought to evaluate them, and frames a path forward for future evaluation efforts.
- Information Science