Nationwide SAR Initiative

The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) builds on what law enforcement and other agencies have been doing for years—gathering information regarding behaviors and incidents associated with criminal activity—and establishes a standardized process whereby information can be shared among agencies to help detect and prevent terrorism-related criminal activity.

In 2008-2009, the PM-ISE evaluated the policies, procedures, and technology concepts needed to implement a unified SAR information sharing process across federal, state, and local governments. The results of the ISE-SAR Evaluation Environment, documented in a series of publicly available reports, showed that the unified process not only enhanced counterterrorism efforts, but also strengthened privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections. Moreover, although the evaluation was focused on SARs that were indicative of terrorism-related crimes, both the steps in the NSI cycle and the data elements in the ISE-SAR Functional Standard are adaptable to other types of criminal behavior.

In March 2010, the Department of Justice established an NSI Office to facilitate the implementation of the NSI across all levels of government and assist participants in adopting compatible processes, policies, and standards that foster broader sharing of SARs, while ensuring that privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties are protected in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Updated information on the NSI can be found on the National SAR Initiative website or by emailing NSI.

The NSI is one of the ISE’s most significant accomplishments to date and the best example of the ISE in action. This is because it is an interrelated set of harmonized policies, mission processes, and systems that leverage ISE core capabilities and enablers to empower the men and women on the frontline to access and share the information they need to keep the country safe.

The role of the PM-ISE is to coordinate and facilitate the development of a network-centric ISE by focusing on standards and architecture, security and access, associated privacy protections, and best practices. The PM-ISE serves as a change agent and center for innovation and discovery in providing ideas, tools, and resources to mission partners who then apply them to their own agencies or communities. In some cases, such as the NSI, the PM-ISE helps sponsor promising mission partner initiatives by providing seed money, subject-matter expertise, or other resources to launch the activity. The aim is always to develop these initiatives in full partnership with mission owners. In addition, as improved business processes and supporting policies and technical solutions are developed and deployed, the PM-ISE helps identify, promote, and spread best practices and, where possible, influences resource allocation decisions to ensure the institutionalization and potential reuse of these mission partner capabilities.

The "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign—originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

Since the beginning of the summer, DHS has worked with DOJ’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative —an effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to specific threats and terrorism-related crime—to expand "If You See Something, Say Something" to communities throughout the country, launching new partnerships with organizations including Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the general aviation industry, fusion centers, and most recently, the nation's hotel and lodging industry.

In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to engage America's businesses, communities, and citizens to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the county safe.

Find out more information about the “If you See Something, Say Something Campaign"