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The Privacy Advisor | Who is who, and what do they do? Deconflicting cyber Related reading: Notes from the IAPP Europe, 23 Feb. 2024



One of the largest challenges for cyber, particularly information sharing, is understanding who all of the players are in the ecosystem. This series of articles will look at a number of different agencies and entities in the United States, starting with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  These articles will provide a high-level view of the agency or entity, as well as the relevant statutory authorities that support the creation and maintenance of the agency or entity. Find the first installment of this series here

This article largely examines 50 USC § 3023, et seq., as well as certain information found at

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which amended the National Security Act of 1947, created a number of new positions and structures.  One of the key changes was the creation of the Director of National Intelligence. Subject to the authority, direction and control of the president, the director of National Intelligence shall: serve as head of the intelligence community; act as the principal adviser to the president, National Security Council, and Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security; and be consistent with Section 1018 of the National Security Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 and oversee and direct the implementation of the National Intelligence Program.

The Director of National Intelligence is responsible for ensuring that national intelligence is provided to the: president; heads of departments and agencies of the executive branch; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military commanders; Senate and House of Representatives and the committees thereof; and such other persons as the director of National Intelligence determines to be appropriate. The national intelligence should be timely, objective, independent of political considerations, and based upon all sources available to the intelligence community and other appropriate entities.

The Director of National Intelligence shall monitor the implementation and execution of the National Intelligence Program by the heads of the elements of the intelligence community that manage programs and activities that are part of the National Intelligence Program, which may include audits and evaluations.

No funds made available under the National Intelligence Program may be transferred or reprogrammed without the prior approval of the director of National Intelligence, except in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Director of National Intelligence.

The DNI also has responsibility for establishing objectives regarding intelligence, setting priorities, overseeing the National Counterterrorism Center, ensuring compliance with the Constitution and other laws, as well as other similar responsibilities.

The DNI has specific responsibilities regarding intelligence information sharing. Specifically, the Director of National Intelligence has principal authority to ensure maximum availability of and access to intelligence information within the intelligence community consistent with national security requirements. The Director of National Intelligence shall:

  • Establish uniform security standards and procedures.
  • Establish common information technology standards, protocols, and interfaces.
  • Ensure development of information technology systems that include multi-level security and intelligence integration capabilities.
  • Establish policies and procedures to resolve conflicts between the need to share intelligence information and the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.
  • Develop an enterprise architecture for the intelligence community and ensure that elements of the intelligence community comply with such architecture.
  • Have procurement approval authority over all enterprise architecture-related information technology items funded in the National Intelligence Program.

The DNI also has a role in coordinating the relationships between elements of the intelligence community and the intelligence or security services of foreign governments or international organizations on all matters involving intelligence related to the national security or involving intelligence acquired through clandestine means.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was formed to assist the Director of National Intelligence in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the director under this Act, the National Security Act of 1947, and other applicable provisions of law, and to carry out such other duties as may be prescribed by the president or by law.

In addition to staff, the ODNI is composed of the following:

  • The DNI.
  • The principal deputy director of national intelligence.
  • Any deputy director of national intelligence appointed under section 103A.
  • The National Intelligence Council.
  • The general counsel.
  • The civil liberties protection officer.
  • The director of science and technology.
  • The national counterintelligence executive (including the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive).
  • Such other offices and officials as may be established by law or the Director may establish or designate in the Office, including national intelligence centers.

The ODNI has specific information sharing operations and programs. An Information Sharing Council was created, as well as an Information Sharing Environment, or ISE. ‘‘ISE’’ means an approach that facilitates the sharing of terrorism information. The approach may include any methods determined necessary and appropriate for carrying out this section. A program manager was also designated. According to ISE,

"The Information Sharing Environment consists of the people, projects, systems and agencies that enable responsible information sharing across the national security enterprise. The ISE was established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and a direct result of 9/11 Commission recommendations. Law enforcement, defense and intelligence personnel rely on timely and accurate information to keep America safe, and the ISE makes that happen by: Advancing responsible information sharing to further counterterrorism, homeland security, and counter weapons of mass destruction missions; improving nationwide decision making by transforming from information ownership to stewardship; and promoting partnerships across federal, state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector and internationally."

ISE also focuses on a number of other priorities, including the principles, goals, and objectives of a number of different Executive Orders, including EO 13388. These goals include:

  • Advance the terrorism-related ISE at the domestic nexus of public safety and national security.
  • Develop and integrate Project Interoperability and the Information Sharing and Safeguarding Core Interoperability Framework to improve information sharing and safeguarding by ISE partners across their enterprise architectures.
  • Support federal departments and agencies with their efforts to implement national information sharing objectives via the Strategic Implementation Plan published in 2013.

ISE also develops reports on these issues that are delivered to Congress. 

The National Counterterrorism Center 

The NCTC was originally created by EO 13354, and then codified in  50 USC§ 3056. While staffed by individuals from a number of different agencies, the NCTC is part of ODNI. The mission statement of the NCTC is, “Lead our nation’s effort to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort.”

Look for part three of this series in the next edition of The Privacy Advisor.

photo credit: deepakiqlect Artificial Intelligence - Resembling Human Brain via photopin (license)


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