Center for Strategic Decision Research


Seamlessness Between Defense and Homeland Security In the War on Terrorism

Mr. Kent Schneider
President, Defense Enterprise Solutions,
Northrop Grumman Information Technology


The international war on terrorism has created a demand for an unprecedented level of knowledge-sharing at every level and in every sector, from the local to the national to the international. This demand has produced the need for the defense community, the intelligence community, and the civilian community to collaborate. 


One of the ways we have done this is by moving from platform-centric to network-centric to knowledge-centric IT systems, allowing knowledge-sharing to take place on a local, national, or international enterprise basis. However, we in the defense business have been inconsistent in dealing with the interface between conventional defense and homeland security. In the U.S. we have created separate government departments—the two largest in our government—to handle these separate functions. In the U.K. the Ministry of Defense handles conventional defense responsibilities while the Home Office leads homeland security. In other European nations homeland security is handled by internal security organizations. 

All of this has driven a wedge between these truly inseparable missions and has: 

  • Inhibited the critical flow of information in areas such as intelligence and operational coordination, which tends to keep information in conventional channels and not provide the new synergies required 
  • Created tremendous duplication in networks, information system infrastructure, and processes/people 
  • Overtaxed limited resources, resulting in the failure to meet some requirements in a timely manner 


To find solutions to the collaboration problem, a number of steps must be taken. 

1. Integrated networks must be built to international standards; these networks must have: Common governance agreed to nationally and across unions/coalitions; Established access rules, agreed to and rigidly enforced; Established and agreed to taxonomies or vocabularies. 

2. Standard processes must be established that optimize effectiveness and facilitate the sharing of knowledge. 

3. A common vision of the future must be developed that will prevent further divergence. 


























Top of page | Home | ©2003 Center for Strategic Decision Research