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Strengthened Food and Agricultural Sector Defense Posture through Improved Private Sector Information Sharing

Award No.: 
In Progress
Principal Investigator: 
Jennifer Li
PI Organization: 
National Association of County and City Health Officials
Start Date: 
July, 2014
End Date: 
June, 2016
The Food and Agriculture Sector (FAS), composed of complex production, processing, and delivery systems largely under private ownership and relied upon for domestic and international food production, is at risk of natural threats or unintentional and intentional manmade contamination or attack. Information sharing between the public and private sectors, if properly managed, could be one of our nation's most powerful tools to combat this risk. However, a 2012 National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) report found that sharing of intelligence information between the Federal government and private sector owners and operators of many of the nation's critical infrastructure sectors is not performing optimally. While the NIAC report investigates information sharing between a number of critical infrastructure and key resource sectors and the Federal intelligence community, it does not explore specific conditions in the FAS. There are varying levels of success with information sharing within the FAS, but without further research, it is difficult to attribute less than optimal information sharing performance to specific sources. In order to improve information sharing between FAS public and private stakeholders, a baseline understanding of the information-sharing needs, gaps, and prioritized areas for improvement and of the barriers inhibiting optimal information sharing is needed. The primary goal of this proposed research is to improve the security of the FAS, protect consumers, and improve the public health resiliency of communities. To this end, through this proposed research, NACCHO will identify the following: (1) information-sharing needs of FAS stakeholders and gaps in FAS stakeholder information-sharing; (2) breakdowns and barriers inhibiting optimal information sharing between FAS public and private stakeholders in prioritized areas; and (3) the means for improving and sustaining bidirectional information sharing between FAS public and private stakeholders in prioritized areas.