The following manual for the Department of Homeland Security’s Media Monitoring Capability was reportedly obtained by EPIC via a FOIA request. The manual has been slightly redacted by DHS to remove names and contact information and the URL of the Network Operations Center Media Monitoring Capability reporting website. This website has been listed in three of the four publicly available manuals as an example of a website monitored by DHS.
Department of Homeland Security National Operations Center Media Monitoring Capability Desktop Reference Binder
- 39 pages
1 Media Monitoring Capability Mission & Reporting Parameters:
1.1 MMC Mission
The MMC has three primary missions:
- First – to continually update existing National Situation Summaries (NSS) and International Situation Summaries (ISS) with the most recent, relevant, and actionable open source media information
- Second – to constantly monitor all available open source information with the goal of expeditiously alerting the NOC Watch Team and other key Department personnel of emergent situations
- Third – to receive, process, and distribute media captured by DHS Situational Awareness Teams (DSAT) or other streaming media available to the NOC such as Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Full Motion Video (FMV) and via open sources
These three missions are accomplished by employing various tools, services, and procedures that are described in detail in this document. Expanded upon, these primary missions have three key components:
1.1.1 Leverage Operationally Relevant Data
Leveraging news stories, media reports and postings on social media sites concerning Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and National Health for operationally relevant data, information, analysis, and imagery is the first mission component. The traditional and social media teams review a story or posting from every direction and interest, utilizing thousands of reporters, sources, still/video cameramen, analysts, bloggers and ordinary individuals on scene. Traditional Media outlets provide unmatched insight into the depth and breadth of the situation, worsening issues, federal preparations, response activities, and critical timelines. At the same time, Social Media outlets provide instant feedback and alert capabilities to rapidly changing or newly occurring situations. The MMC works to summarize the extensive information from these resources to provide a well rounded operational picture for the Department of Homeland Security.
1.1.2 Support NOC in Identifying Relevant Operational Media
Supporting the NOC by ensuring they have a timely appreciation for evolving Homeland Security news stories and media reports of interest to the public and DHS/other federal agencies involved in preparations and response activities is the second key component. DHS and other federal agencies conducting joint operations may be affected by other evolving situations in that area. These situations may be related; have a cause and effect relationship; or be unrelated but have a detrimental effect. Through coordination with the NOC Duty Director (NDD), Senior Watch Officer (SWO) the MMC works to ensure the NOC Watch Team is aware of such stories and news events and has time to analyze any effect on operations.
Timely reporting of current information is an integral element in maintaining complete operational awareness by Homeland Security Personnel. The MMC understand it is vital that critical information is relayed to key Department decision makers in as expeditious a manner as possible.
1.1.3 Increase Situational Awareness of the DHS Secretary
Mitigating the likelihood that the Secretary and DHS Executive staffs are unaware of a breaking Homeland Security news story or media report is the third component. The Secretary and executive staff members are subject to press questions regarding domestic and international events and may or may not be informed of the most current media coverage. The MMC understands critical information requirements and monitors news coverage with the perspective of how the breaking story may be related to current and other important ongoing situations and DHS activities.
The on-duty MMC analyst alerts DHS personnel and related federal agencies of updated news stories through distributed Items of Interest (see section 3.9.6). Recognizing that local media coverage is potentially sensationalizing an incident, the MMC strives to comprehend the media’s message and identify sensitive situations that must be brought to the attention of the Secretary.