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Remarks of Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

Global Justice Information Sharing Awards Ceremony

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Washington, DC

       Thank you. It's really wonderful to be here. First, I'd like to welcome you on behalf of the entire Department of Justice and the Attorney General. Attorney General Eric Holder is a strong supporter of information sharing as a means to enhance public safety, and I know he would want me to convey his heartfelt appreciation for your work.

        At DOJ, we love nothing more than celebrating successful partnerships, and the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Advisory Committee, or GAC, is certainly a hallmark of partnership success.

       When I returned to the Office of Justice Programs, I established some very clear goals. One of those focuses on restoring a connection with the field. I know this is possible only if we're truly willing to engage with our stakeholders. I can't think of many better examples of that kind of engagement than the work we're doing through GAC.

        Crime knows no jurisdictional boundaries, so our information sharing solutions have to be vast in scope and comprehensive in nature. It's essential that we provide national leadership to help meet the need for workable policies, effective business practices, and practical tools.

       Information sharing is truly at the heart of everything we all do to improve our criminal justice system and protect our communities. Your capable leader, Bob Boehmer says, "If you're in the justice system; you're in information sharing." I couldn't have said it better.

       To fight gangs, professionals have got to know where gang members are, and likewise where their rivals are. To facilitate reentry, community corrections officers need complete information on an offender's history - no matter where they lived, offended, or relocated. And - probably Global's most potent application - to fight terrorism, local, state, tribal, and federal jurisdictions have got to share information on suspicious activities. In the justice community - maybe even more than in any other field - information really is power.

       So, these information exchanges do not represent information that is just nice to know. These information exchanges are absolutely critical to help us protect our communities.

       That's why Global is so important. Global's goal is to improve our nation's information sharing capabilities. You support the Department's mission to leverage new technologies and open standards to make development and implementation faster, better, and cheaper.

       Since Global was chartered in 1998 by my former boss, Attorney General Reno, it's made enormous strides in improving justice information sharing capacity, addressing current barriers, and meeting new challenges - all while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

       For instance, I know your practical guidance and useful templates for privacy policies are being used by agencies at the local, state, tribal, and even federal levels. Your work has saved them countless hours of research and ensures that their policies meet rigorous standards.

       In the wake of 9/11, you provided essential support for fusion centers. You helped develop new resources and assisted with the creation of a consistent national framework - complete with comprehensive training and technical assistance programs.

       In fact, your recommendations have moved beyond anyone's expectations, and have evolved into the groundbreaking National Information Exchange Model, or NIEM. NIEM is designed to improve responses to criminal activities, natural disasters, and biological threats by linking first responders. It also became the model used by DOJ's Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Web site, which provides local jurisdictions with a free tool to share vital information nationally.

       Finally, because information is only powerful if it is accurate, you've supported the development of guidelines to assist practitioners as they evaluate the quality of the information they collect, maintain, and disseminate.

       These are just a few examples of the many guidelines, templates, and practical tools you have helped develop throughout your history.

       In summary, your work has been truly invaluable.

       And, as we celebrate this important milestone, we must also look to the future for new opportunities. Going forward, we need to redouble our efforts to educate our justice and public safety communities about new information sharing technologies and tools. If the people on the frontlines don't know about these tools, they don't have a lot of utility. Therefore, we must continue our efforts to focus on knowledge transfer - on training and education for the field.

       We also have to continue to provide consistent support to ensure that the momentum doesn't stop. This year, BJA alone is providing more than $527 million to support information sharing initiatives. More than $338 million of that is being distributed directly to more than 1,100 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies through the Byrne/JAG Program. These funds will help jurisdictions meet local needs by supporting projects like automated fingerprinting technology, CAD and RMS systems, and vital communication equipment upgrades.

       Finally, we need to continue to provide national leadership and guidance in this area. This is truly one of Global's most powerful potentials. With your help, we've been able to bring together national leaders from across government and tap the enormous capacity of an unprecedented public/private partnership. Together, we must invest in long-term strategies and support nationwide implementation. In BJA's Justice Information Sharing Strategic Action Plan, we acknowledge these obligations and set clear priorities for fulfilling them. We also note the importance of our partnership with Global.

       This partnership includes much of OJP. NIJ has been a strong partner and advocate of Global for many years. I am also very pleased to see OJJDP's further involvement using NIEM to improve juvenile-related information exchanges. Most recently, it is exciting to see BJS embrace NIEM to help improve justice statistics reporting. Seeing our own OJP family take advantage of Global concepts and tools is very rewarding.

        In the last ten years, you have done an incredible job of promoting information sharing and achieving real success in the field. We are only celebrating this milestone because you were willing to share - to share your valuable time, your expertise, and your knowledge.

       Today's ceremony is all about what you - and the important organizations you represent - have given to this shared cause, and what the country has gained. All of you are busy, accomplished professionals with many competing demands, but your volunteerism is unparalleled. So, let me end by saying, thank you.

       Now, I'd like to invite our only inaugural Global member with us today, and your current Vice Chair, Carl Wicklund, to the stage. I've known Carl for many years now, and I can tell you that his enthusiasm for this initiative has never wavered. Please welcome, my friend and colleague, Carl Wicklund.

        Thank you, Carl.

       At this time, I have the pleasure of introducing Harlin McEwen, another veteran Global member. Harlin has also been a champion of this cause for years, and we're so lucky to have him with us today.

       Thank you, Harlin.

        Our first group of awards is for former federal Global leaders. Our first awardee is Paul Kendall. Paul is Senior Counsel at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was previously at OJP, where he served as General Counsel and provided exceptional leadership for the Global initiative when it was still in its infancy.

       Dick Ward, our next awardee, formerly served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Mary Lou Leary when Global first came to OJP. He was instrumental in understanding the value Global could offer to the field. Unfortunately, he couldn't be with us today.

        This next group of awardees includes several past Global chairs. To take on a volunteer position this demanding takes a special person, and we have been lucky to have so many accomplished professionals fill this post.

       Today, we honor Ken Bouche from the IJIS Institute for his important role in guiding Global efforts to support intelligence information sharing activities after the tragic events of 9/11.

       I'd also like to acknowledge Michael Robinson of the Motion Picture Association of America, Gary Cooper from the CJIS Group, and Mel Carraway from the Transportation Security Administration, past Global Chairs who couldn't be with us today.

        Now, we'd like to recognize the Global Executive Steering Committee Members. These volunteers help to set the vision for one of the most influential and important federal advisory committees. They also help lead team efforts to ensure goals are met and products are delivered. This they do in their spare time. Please join me in thanking these members:

  • First, our two long-standing members, Carl Wicklund, representing the American Probation and Parole Association. Carl has served as the Chair of the Privacy Working Group and as the Vice Chair of Global.
  • And, Harlin McEwen, representing the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Harlin served as a past leader of the Infrastructure/Standards Working Group, and has been a tireless promoter of the work of Global.
  • Steve Correll, representing NLETS, International Justice and Public Safety Network. Steve has helped lead national adoption of NIEM via NLETS. And, at one point or another, Steve has chaired almost every Global Working Group. Yes, we all agree, Steve just can't keep a job.
  • Tom Clarke, who represents the National Center for State Courts. Tom has served as the Chair of the Global Infrastructure/ Standards Working Group and has played an instrumental role in leading NIEM development. Mary McQueen will be accepting on behalf of Tom Clarke.
  • John Ruegg, from the Global Security Working Group. John has played a critical role in the development of the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management Initiative and has assisted with technology advances for privacy efforts.
  • Vance Hitch, joining us from the U.S. Department of Justice. As DOJ's CIO, and as Co-Chair of NIEM with the DHS CIO Richard Spires, Van has been a huge advocate for Global products. Indeed, he recognized the importance of DOJ incorporating many of Global's concepts and tools, which led to broad scale adoption by DHS and HHS. Today, dozens of other federal agencies are expressing interest in adopting NIEM.
  • Ron Hawley, representing SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. Ron is the Chair of the Outreach Committee and another staunch advocate who uses BJA funding to provide national training and technical assistance for adoption of Global-related products.
  • David Steingraber, representing the National Governors Association. David plays an important role helping to lead collaboration between Global and first responders within the public safety community.
  • Judge Tony Capizzi, who chairs the Global Privacy and Information Quality Working Group, where he leads the vital work to ensure privacy and civil liberty protections are woven into all things Global;
  • And, Ron Brooks, who chairs the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council. Ron couldn't join us today.

        Finally, I'd like to recognize all the active Global members. Each and every one of you is essential to the success of Global. First, I'd like to acknowledge your current Chair Bob Boehmer, representing the National Criminal Justice Association. Bob has served faithfully as Chair of Global for four years and formerly chaired the Privacy Working Group. Now, I'd like to invite him to share a few words with us.

       Thanks so much for your leadership, Bob. Now, I'd like to recognize the Global members and the organizations they represent.

       Today, in recognition of your service to the U.S. Department of Justice, we would like to present you with a certificate of appreciation. Please know that today, and every day, you have the appreciation of the Attorney General, the support of this Administration, and the gratitude of all the people who have gathered to honor you. Thank you for your hard work and for your volunteer spirit.

       At this time, I will read the names of our remaining recipients. We ask that awardees please remain seated until we conclude the formal program. After the individual photos, we would like all honorees to join us on stage for a group photo. The Global Advisory Committee honorees are:

  • George White, who unfortunately could not be with us today, but who I would like to specially acknowledge. George is being represented by the National Association of Attorneys General's Executive Director, Jim McPherson. George has been a valuable participant in Global activities, particularly through Outreach efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, and we wish him well.
  • Next, Scott Burns, from the National District Attorneys Association, who was also unable to join us;
  • David Byers, representing the Conference of State Court Administrators, who could not attend today;
  • George Camp, from the Association of State Correctional Administrators;
  • Steven Cumoletti, of the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board;
  • Debra DeBerry, representing the National Association of Court Management;
  • J. Stephen Fletcher, from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers;
  • Joseph "Rick" Fuentes, of the International Association of Chiefs of Police - Division of State and Provincial Police;
  • Paul Halvorson, representing the Administrative Office of the United States Courts;
  • Barbara Hurst, of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association;
  • Bart R. Johnson, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
  • Timothy Loewenstein, from the National Association of Counties;
  • Michael Milstead, representing the National Sheriffs' Association;
  • Michael Muth, from INTERPOL;
  • Jerome Pender, from the FBI - CJIS Division, who was unable to attend today;
  • Edward Reina , representing the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Indian Country Law Enforcement Section;
  • Neil Schuster, from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, who couldn't join us today;
  • David Stucki, of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges;
  • Jeffrey Washington, representing the American Correctional Association; and
  • Thomas Wyss, from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

       The 32 organizations and countless professionals that all of you represent are the backbone of our justice system. We are honored to have you at the table and endlessly grateful for your support.

       This concludes today's program. While we take photos, we invite you to enjoy the refreshments. And, if you haven't already had a chance, please visit the Global booth.

       Thank you again for being here today, and for being our valued partners throughout the year.

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