2003 Annual Report Global Terrorism: An Information System Failure?
The information system errors are common in government and private organizations. It is required to adopt a system development model to incorporate integration of the technology and business operations of any organization. The systems developed according to the requirements of information systems also cater the provision of self audit and correction of malfunctions. However a diligent approach should be taken when dealing with cross agency and cross organizations data. The classification of data received should be similar in order to construct relevant results.
The technology components used in TTIC are mainly based on the integrated approach for systems and IT infrastructure. However a hasty approach to deploy technology and IT in organizations cannot produce desired results. The business processes, products and services, and target audience audit is performed in the sections below to understand the short comings of TTIC and integration of interagency systems to counterterrorism.
The Terrorist Threat Integration Centre (TTIC) was formed with an aim to integrate national and global terrorism information. However the hasty inception and function of TTIC resulted into complete failure and embarrassment for state departments. The inception of the center was made through a presidential executive order. It could not develop a functional mechanism for operations. The failure to adopt a functional hierarchy and operational procedures result into serious malfunctions of the government departments. The key events analyzed in the case study reflect a failure to develop and adopt functional procedures for achieving results.
The defense department, CIA, FBI, and related departments do not share a common definition for terror attacks, events, and classification of attacks. As a result the reports generated through information systems contain flawed information. Consequently the integrated response and cross agency sharing of information is not possible. The requirements for achieving an integrated approach a systemic approach is required. It should define and deploy sophisticated information systems architecture and system development techniques to eliminate the errors occurred in the publication of annual report on global terrorism 2003. It is also required to utilize advanced statistical software and tools to analyze received information from various agencies.
TTIC was incorporated by the President of United States through instructions to Federal Bauru of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security. The center was created on Jan 2003, in order to integrate a coordinated approach towards threats for terrorist attacks. The TTIC goals were to collect and analyze the terrorist related information from global and national perspective in order to formulate an integrated approach for threat perception and counterterrorism.The homeland security was handled through various instruments of defense department. The newly formed center was created through a fusion of Department of Homeland Security, FBI's counterterrorism division. The objectives of TTICare to optimize and integrate the terrorist threat-related information, expertise, and capabilities. It also performs threat analysis and informsthrong strategies.The work system snapshot of the TTIC is to create a structured approach towards the information sharing among national and international intelligence agencies and terrorist deterrence units. The information resource management was handled through an integrated approach receiving information from various agencies and creating a threat perception of the possible terrorist attacks (Alter, 2004).
According to Alter (2004) John Brennan, lead the TTIC from CIA's side, as the original plan was that it will be run by a government official named by the CIA's director in consultation with the FBI and defense secretary. The head of the center will also report to the CIA's director. The team included officials from counterterrorism units of homeland security and FBI. The IT infrastructure setup allowed the professionals working at the organization allowed the direct access to fourteen government networks. The key objective of the It officials and analysis's working at the center was to establish an IT infrastructure with advanced analytical tools to access and analyze information on government and international networks. The development of the infrastructure was also aimed to create knowledge base regarding the terrorism activities and threats perception. The plans for the next year included the access to ten additional networks and develop information systems architecture with sophisticated search capabilities. The integration of information present in various networks and enabling a formation of real threat picture for future terror threats. The FBI was reluctant to name the team leader of TTIC from their side and later emphasized on providing an individual with familiarity of FBI operations rather than IT expertise (Bjelopera, 2011).
The current system was adopted from various defense organizations including the department of defense. The system worked according to the earlier defined procedures and capabilities. The integration of information was only up to the level of information access and analysis. The creation of the department did not including a detailed layout of procedures and processes through which the information was obtained, classified, analyzed, and presented. The deficiency of the system capabilities along with the human resources and inconsistent classification of terrorist attacks are causing major issues. The management reporting system has serious issues as identified after the analysis of their publication named Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003. The intentions of the faulty report were named as politically motivated. However later review of the report found numerous mistakes that are mainly caused by the inefficient information system and lack of transparency in the operating processes (LaFree, & Dugan, 2011).
Global transmission and issues with foreign countries and cultures has also influenced the annual report on the terrorism in year 2003. The reporting errors raised question about the integrity of the system but also the credibility of the defense agencies was also damaged. The highest level of state officials has to face fierce criticism from national and international media. The members of senate and opposition parties also questioned the political benefit sought through the report. The working of TTIC was strictly scrutinized and found various technical and operational errors. The classification of terrorism activities was not consistent across various agencies. The system used by the agencies and resulting information system of the newly developed center was also compromised. The computing resources were also found to be inadequate. The tools used for analysis of information are also not in line with the requirements of latest terror analysis. The procedures adopted to gather and extract information were also not correct (Piazza, 2010).
Management perspective (SWOT Analysis)
Integration of information networks and intelligence data.
Ability to integrate information and analyze the perceived threats.
The unified platform for all national and global terrorism data and threats.
Inadequate organizational structure and absence of operating procedures.
Lack of It and Information system infrastructure.
Software and analysis tools used are inappropriate to provide accurate threat perception.
Development of IT infrastructure for correct reporting.
Analytical and statistical tools development.
Integration of all intelligence information.
Credibility of state department's capabilities.
Creation of inappropriate threats and result into actions against false reports.
Integrity of statistical reports and management failure.
Strengths and weaknesses of the system:
The creation of the TTIC has strengthened the national and global counterterrorism agencies and integration of information networks. The intelligence data and information sharing has created a coherent approach for creating a threat level perception. The ability to integrate information and analyze the perceived threats is in itself an achievement however a thorough structure and latest information system is required. The unified platform for all national and global terrorism data and threats provides an opportunity for defense agencies to collect and share data throughout the globe (Slaughter, & Hale, 2010).
The weaknesses of the organization are derived through inadequate organizational structure and absence of operating procedures. The proper functioning of an organization is possible through detailed designation of responsibilities and information systems infrastructure. The center lackedIT and Information system infrastructure as a result the information sharing and analysis tools used cannot be deployed properly. The consequences of the undefined and underperforming agency can not only cause additional expenses but it also creates a lack of trust and integrity of threat perception mechanism. Software and analysis tools used are inappropriate to provide accurate threat perception. Therefore it is required to adopt sophisticated processes oriented approach to enhance the system and technical capabilities of TTIC (Draheim, 2010).
Threats and opportunities facing the system:
Credibility of state department's capabilities is compromised and as a result a cut in allocated budgets might pose threats. The operating budget is required to update systems and procedures of operations to achieve desired objectives. The creation of inappropriate terrorist threats and result into actions against false reports hence it leads to a complete failure of the counterterrorism efforts. The integrity of statistical reports and management failure can result into increased pressure from political and social pressure groups (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2010). The threats are not only in terms of defense mechanism failure but at the same time it poses an increased venerability to public safety.
According to Neuvel, Scholten, and van den Brink (2012) the development of IT infrastructure for correct reporting can create…