InfraGard: Helping the Nation’s IT Security Professionals
By James R. Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Contributor, In Homeland Security
On August 25, InfraGard Las Vegas had an interesting event where they discussed a report about current threats to information technology. InfraGard is an organization that serves the security community.
New or old security managers and intelligence professionals may desire to join InfraGard. InfraGard not only provides networking opportunities, but it also helps members to learn current information and threats outside of the normal information flow in organizations.
InfraGard is a non-profit organization and federal information sharing program dedicated to protecting national cybersecurity by sharing information among businesses, academic institutions and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. In addition to cybersecurity, InfraGard members also review the big picture of security threats, threat movements and the impact of threat actors in areas outside of members’ organizations.
InfraGard was founded by the FBI in 1996 and has more than 80 chapters in the U.S. This organization is led by local industry leaders with support from the local FBI office.
Careful Screening Process Ensures Members Receive Quality Information
Membership in InfraGard is free, but, participants must go through a screening process in order to join this association. Prospective members must be U.S. citizens and work in the security field. For example, they can work in a security company or in the security office of a corporation.
FBI Special Agents often have security briefs during the meetings, so the FBI does a background check (including a criminal history check) on all members to ensure that the sensitive information they provide remains confidential. All members have a requirement to protect information as “business confidential” and not disclose it beyond the intended scope. In turn, federal agencies exercise care to protect sensitive information they receive from InfraGard members.
InfraGard has subcommittees pertaining to 16 critical infrastructure sectors, as defined by President Obama. Protecting these sectors advances a national policy to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning and resilient critical infrastructures. Since most members’ parent organization aligns with one of the sectors, the sector subcommittees are a method for members to learn from their peers in their sector.
InfraGard Membership Encourages Knowledge Development and Growth
Membership into InfraGard also has a web portal used for sharing information. Contributors to the web portal include the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Information provided by the FBI and DHS is both timely and official, allowing corporate members to gauge threats.
The portal also provides access to many sector publications, allowing security professionals to access information that can be used to protect their own organizations. InfraGard also holds webinars to encourage the professional growth of its members.
InfraGard’s main value comes from the ability to learn and share quality information with other security professionals. InfraGard also allows professionals to give back to the organization by mentoring each other, further encouraging the growth of its members.
About the Author
James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded their 43rd scholarship for national security students and professionals. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence within the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, contractor and civil service.
James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. In 2016 he was accepted as a member of the Military Writers Guild. He has served in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and at the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office. James had an active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”
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