CIO Perspective: NIEM: The key to improved information sharing – FCW

Excerpt below is from the article “NIEM: The key to improved information sharing” by Richard Spires, available at:


NIEM uses the XML standard to define the content of messages being exchanged. It’s about the data and how it’s structured. Users can also take advantage of tools that implement the Unified Modeling Language profile for NIEM, which generates XML and provides a business-oriented understanding of the exchange.

Yet NIEM is only one piece of the information exchange solution. Depending on their business requirements, information exchanges also require access controls, policy automation and other aspects of implementation. Although NIEM was an outgrowth of efforts that began in the justice and law enforcement community more than a decade ago, today it supports government exchange efforts in more than a dozen diverse communities, such as international trade, maritime, health and human services.

All 50 states and at least 16 federal agencies have implemented or are considering solutions that use NIEM. Even foreign governments, including Canada and Australia, use NIEM, which means “National” is now a misnomer. Yet because NIEM started with justice information sharing, there are still misunderstandings about its applicability.

NIEM’s value can benefit everything the government does. NIEM should be considered part of the solution to improving federal data transparency (e.g., via the Data Act and open-data initiatives).

I urge you to learn more and get involved with what the NIEM community is doing by visiting