"Connecting the Dot-Govs" is a new article on knowledge sharing in the Department of Homeland Security I wrote for the June issue of KMWorld. Available HERE.
It was perhaps the most ambitious reorganization in the history of government. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 22 agencies were wrested from their traditional places in the U.S. government hierarchy and reassembled block by block into a massive new pyramid with over 200,000 personnel and more than $50 billion in resources. Created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and officially inaugurated March 1, 2003, to great fanfare and greater controversy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) incorporated federal functions as disparate as border patrols, customs, immigration, disaster relief, emergency response, anti-counterfeiting, presidential protection, transportation safety, health inspection, cybercrime, nuclear detection and maritime rescue. All of those components, moreover, are still tasked with their original missions, but prioritized on one goal more than any other: anticipating and preventing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
The logic of DHS was that government responses could not be delayed or diluted by failures of communication or coordination between federal agencies or between federal efforts and state and local governments. In other words, share knowledge and information. A new administration is a good time to look at what DHS has learned in its first six years by pursuing both the social and technical aspects of knowledge management. Sharing of such massive scope and scale brings tremendous opportunities and challenges in equal measure—complicated by the disparate organizational cultures in DHS and further by the sensitive and secure nature of information in many of the agencies’ jurisdictions.