The HSIN Advocate - May 2013 Edition

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The Advocate
MAY 2013 
Message from
the Director 
Other HSIN
PMO Member Spotlight
HSIN User Quote 
Contact Us 
Donna Roy
Message from Donna Roy

Dear Valued HSIN Partner,

It’s been a busy month at HSIN. We saw unprecedented use prompted by the response to the Boston Marathon incident last month. We are honored to continue to support the investigation and our many partners who are involved. 

Orb came in first in a very muddy Kentucky Derby this year and HSIN was there for its third year to support command, control and intelligence information sharing.  While the attendees sipped mint juleps, security and other issues were monitored in one place via HSIN.

This month’s newsletter starts some new features.  A new community corner feature brings you best practices and lessons learned from a select HSIN community of interest.  This month we look at Critical Infrastructure (CI). The HSIN PMO Spotlight shares information about some of the people involved in our program. Check them out below.

In migration news, we are pleased to report that HSIN’s largest communities and 96% of state communities have migrated from HSIN Legacy to HSIN Release 3 (R3). We’re continuing to migrate the remaining federal and private sector focused communities while still implementing planned functionality such as HSINBox for sharing messages securely within HSIN, along with self nomination, allowing you to request access to all of the communities you need to meet your mission needs. 

We’re very proud that we’ve been awarded the Government Information Technology Executive Council (GITEC) Project Excellence Award. The GITEC Project Excellence Award recognizes outstanding federal government projects. HSIN’s receipt of this award is recognition of its strong management team and its project management skills. 

Thank you for your ongoing partnership and use of HSIN.


Donna Roy 
HSIN Program Director
Office of the CIO, Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528


Boston Marathon image 

Prompt response to Boston Marathon bombings facilitated by HSIN

HSIN has provided continuous, secure, web-conferencing capability to more than 400 individual, multi-jurisdictional intelligence officials nationwide, on-demand, since the first operational period of the response. This capability has been important to ensuring awareness and coordination between DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), fusion center and state and local law enforcement officials during the ongoing investigation.

HSIN has also provided a secure, trusted platform for the sharing of documents and general updates between DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and trusted members of the private sector through the NICC. Further, the HSIN Help Desk has supported unprecedented number of requests for the use of HSIN resulting from the Boston bombing incident. 

The day after the bombing, the Help Desk fielded 1,200 individual calls. In the week that followed, Help Desk responded to more than 5,000 requests. Typically, the Help Desk gets 250 inquiries per day or 1,750 inquiries a week. Before Boston, the most calls Help Desk had received in one day was 500 during the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.  

HSIN has provided all these services while still advancing its migration to its new, HSIN R3 platform, successfully completing the cutover of large communities of interest throughout this operational period.

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Kentucky Derby image

Screenshot of HSIN Adobe Connect mobile application that allowed users to view live video feeds of crowds attending Thunder Over Louisville events. Photo provided by Mission Advocate Kelli Morris.

Spotlight on Kentucky Derby: HSIN heads to the races

For the third year in a row, HSIN was the information sharing platform of choice for the Kentucky Joint Emergency Services Unit (J-ESU) at the Kentucky Derby and the “Thunder Over Louisville” festival that took place two weeks prior to the Derby. Nearly 500,000 people partook in festival activities from April 20 until May 4, and 265,436 people attended the Kentucky Oaks and Derby on May 3 and 4. The J-ESU is composed of more than 70 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), HAZMAT technicians, law enforcement officers, firefighters, public health officials, National Weather Service, and SWAT members.

Kelli Morris, Mission Advocate (MA) for Kentucky, worked with the J-ESU to use HSIN to compile information collected from various field agents on the location of suspicious chemicals or radiation. Because this information was tracked electronically, agents could immediately rule out false alarms by cross referencing previous years to see if similar reports existed for that location in years past. This efficiency allowed agents to spend time investigating new, unexplained instances of chemical or radiation detection.

For the first time, HSIN was also able serve as a conduit for real-time video feeds used to monitor the Thunder Over Louisville festival, allowing commanders to watch video while receiving reports from officers in the field.

All of these capabilities were successfully provided on the new, HSIN R3 system.

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Development Corner: Securely Share Documents, Photos and More with HSINBox

HSINBox image

You can now securely exchange documents, images, links, and notes within HSIN R3 using HSINBox. HSINBox gives you a simple and intuitive interface to send and receive messages within HSIN, and attach documents, links or notes. HSINBox enhances security by providing a secure alternative to email, letting you exchange sensitive information without ever leaving the secure HSIN platform.

To access HSINBox, select the HSINBox link in the Toolbox menu. The Toolbox icon is located in the top-right corner of HSIN
Release 3.

HSIN Monthly Top 10

Top 10 things you will never hear an MA say...

  1. What’s your fax number?
  2. There’s nothing on my to-do list at the moment.
  3. We need more acronyms.
  4. Decisions made in Washington always make complete sense.
  5. What’s a SharePoint?
  6. I don’t think you need that much bandwidth for this event.
  7. Wow, that was easy!
  8. I feel underutilized.
  9. What’s your password?
  10. So, when does HSIN R3 come out? 


HSIN Users Working Group (HUWG) Update

The HSIN Users Working Group (HUWG) met at the beginning of May to approve a new charter and business management plan. The new way of doing business for the HUWG will place greater emphasis on the business needs of the program, including requirements management, collecting and sharing best practices, testing of new features, and building new policies and process. It will also eliminate a series of underused governance bodies—making user governance more clear, transparent, and accountable. HSIN is currently recruiting new members for the new HUWG.

If you are interested in participating in the HUWG or if you have any feedback on HSIN communications, please send an email to

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Computer training image

HSIN Computer Based Training (CBT)— Fast, Effective, and Free!

HSIN’s self-paced CBTs are an excellent way to conveniently get the training you need to maximize your use of HSIN R3. CBTs are available at no charge, on demand, and online for your use. You can access the CBTs by logging into HSIN R3’s training page. CBTs , created by HSIN Outreach Team members Kelly Wilcox and Charnece Lundy, include:

  • Manual Identity Validator (MIV) CBT: The MIV process is an alternative method to the electronic identity proofing process that allows first-time HSIN R3 users to register online. This MIV process also verifies your identity but takes more time to complete since it is not automated.
  • HSINBox CBT: HSINBox gives you a simple and intuitive interface to communicate directly and securely with one another and to a group and/or distribution list. HSINBox provides a secure alternative to email, letting you exchange sensitive information without ever leaving the HSIN platform.

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HSIN Community Corner: Critical Infrastructure

The Critical Infrastructure Community of Interest (CI) is one of the most vital and active communities on HSIN. CI’s mission is to provide tactical and planning functionality for private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators in coordination with the Homeland Security enterprise. CI has more than 14,000 active users and holds more than 17,000 publications. How has CI achieved this success and what can we learn from the way it does business? The HSIN Advocate recently sat down with CI’s leadership to understand the roots of its accomplishments.

Mission First—Technology Second. Ask CI leaders and users why their community works, and they will tell you it’s because their primary focus has been, and continues to be the homeland security missions of its users. CI has never taken the position of “take it or leave it.” It routinely engages with its users to understand what they need to achieve. CI’s mission is to serve as the primary vehicle for nationwide information sharing and collaboration between DHS, all 18 critical infrastructure sectors, and state and local fusion centers. HSIN-CI enables DHS and sector stakeholders to communicate, coordinate, and share information in support of the Sector Partnership Framework.

HSIN fills in the gaps. CI has focused on delivering mission-critical features that are unavailable on other platforms. Whether it was building a custom report, developing and pushing alerts, creating situational awareness reports, providing incident updates, or providing web-based training / conferences, CI identified gaps within a sector’s information and technology needs and offered a solution for those users.

Governance establishes trust. Trusting the users in your community is critical for information sharing. CI established vetting criteria for users in different communities to ensure membership consists of those who would benefit from the information being shared. CI also engages with the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) to provide guidance from and accountability to major stakeholders. Lastly, a network of detailed, standard operating procedures makes certain that the platform is used to share information without disclosing trade secrets or endorsing certain products.

HSIN R3 is a major step forward for CI. CI is excited for the move to HSIN Release 3 (R3). Attribute-based information sharing will break down stovepipes and put an even greater focus on the information sharing needs of users. R3 will provide users with significant, new tools for sharing and collaboration while also integrating improved tools like secure messaging, ArcGIS mapping, Jabber instant messaging, and HSIN Adobe Connect. Stronger security measures will ensure a network of trust and network integrity for all sectors. All of these features will reside on the more advanced platform of Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Once registered in R3, CI users will be able to access HSIN Central, which includes program updates and announcements, training videos and resources on-demand.

CI is a best practice we can all learn from.

Want your community featured here? Contact HSIN Outreach at

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Jim Lanoue

HSIN PMO Team Member Spotlight: Jim Lanoue

As the HSIN Deputy Program Manager, I manage many of the program controls necessary for tracking this major Government investment, including risk management, quality management, reporting, and overall Program scheduling. I work with the other senior Government members in the HSIN Program Office to support our executive leadership and governance stakeholders.

I grew up in Northern Virginia, but I now claim Maryland as my home. As a result, I am a Ravens and a Redskins fan on the football side, and a Nationals and an Orioles fan on the baseball side. Some other members of the HSIN Program have informed me that I must pick one team in each sport, but I like them both.

"Future events and responses will be coordinated through HSIN...allowing New Orleans to continue to capitalize on the unity of effort derived from this information sharing platform. Further cost savings are expected with the continued deployment of HSIN by Federal, State, Local, and Private Partners."

Lieutenant Joel Kurucar, U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans

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If you would like to share your experience with HSIN Release 3, please send an email to