Content Subgroup Charter

Charter PDF


The Homeland Security Working Group (HSWG) Content Subgroup is established under the auspices of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to serve as the focal point for information content required to ensure that geospatial information technologies support the strategic goals of homeland security (HLS) as defined in the FGDC HSWG charter (


The HSWG will identify geospatial information technologies, resources, standards and data applicable to homeland security. By default, the Content Subgroup is inherently responsible to maintain scope and procedures aligned but not redundant with the auspices and scope of the overall HSWG and partner subgroups. The Content Subgroup will apply subject matter expertise of the Content Subgroup members, or solicit outside subject matter expertise where relevant, to review and analyze information content of data models, transformation schemas, and exchange protocols or procedures. The scope of the Content Subgroup encompasses the investigation and review of any information resource that is geospatial in nature and involves HLS stakeholder use and implementation of geospatial models or standards related to information content.


The Department of Homeland Security will chair the Content Subgroup and will adhere to the FGDC processes and procedures for working group activities.  The HSWG Chair may approve a Vice-Chair to assist the Subgroup Chair in conducting the business of the subgroup.


The activities of the HSWG Content Subgroup are in accordance with OMB Circulars A-16, A-119, and A-130, and Executive Order 12906.


The HSWG Content Subgroup shall consist of representatives designated by:

a) those Federal agencies, that as part of their mission, collect or finance the collection of geospatial data that are applicable to homeland security missions;

b) those Federal agencies that are legislatively mandated to directly apply these data (e.g. agencies specified in the National Response Plan and relevant Homeland Security Presidential Directives) in support of homeland security missions;

c) those organizations holding HLS responsibilities, defined as HLS stakeholders, affected by HLS related geospatial information sharing models and processes.

Member agencies of the HSWG may designate its representatives, alternates if desired, and changes thereto, to the HSWG Content Subgroup Chair.

Non-Federal governmental organizations (state, local, and tribal governments) and associations representing groups of non-Federal governmental organizations may be added with the concurrence of the HSWG Chairperson(s).

Nongovernmental organizations may also participate in the HSWG Content Subgroup, but their participation is limited to a non-decision making role. Thus, industry associations or consortia, non-US governmental organizations, and the like may be invited to attend meetings to provide information and opinions to the HSWG Content Subgroup, but may not participate in the decision making of the subgroup.


The responsibilities of the HSWG Content Subgroup shall include:

a) facilitating review of information content of geospatial data models;

b) comparing the content of reviewed data models with existing endorsed FGDC or other Federal standards for information content;

c) providing recommendations to improve reviewed or existing content models within the scope of HLS geospatial data acquisition, processing, distribution, use, maintenance, and preservation;

d) providing mechanisms to engage the HLS stakeholder community in open, public and transparent reviews of new and existing geospatial data models, to include:

1) initiating public reviews of model documentation and announcement of the terms of the review process;

2) soliciting comments and/or change recommendations for a particular model        under review;

3) compiling and making public a record of comments, recommendations and determinations related to model modifications.

e) communicating with model stewards for the purpose of conveying comments and recommendations received by the subgroup, and where appropriate, suggesting and/or soliciting determinations on proposed model changes.


Subgroup meetings will be held at the call of the Content Subgroup Chair. Normal notification of meetings, accompanied by an agenda, will be made to members of the Content Subgroup and to the HSWG membership no less than five (5) Federal working days in advance of a meeting. However, emergency meetings may be convened by the chairperson at any time with however much advance notice as is possible under the prevailing circumstances.

Due to the nature of some types of information required to assure homeland security and the requirements for processing and storage of that information, some meetings of the HSWG and its associated subgroups may be held at an appropriate classified security level. Such meetings will be limited to discussion of the topics necessitating a meeting at the classified level.

All decisions are made on the basis of consensus agreement. Where agreement cannot be reached, the issue is promptly referred to the HSWG Chair, and if necessary, to the FGDC Executive Secretary to be scheduled for resolution.

Prior to implementing decisions that may impact the HSWG and/or the FGDC, the Content Subgroup Chair will consult with the HSWG Chairperson to determine if 1) the HSWG as a whole requires awareness of a proposed decision, or 2) the FGDC Coordination Group requires consultation to assess the need for intra-FGDC coordination.

The Content Subgroup may by consensus establish additional rules and procedures for conducting its business.


The HSWG Content Subgroup will employ standard communication tools including E-mail and the FGDC HSWG Content Subgroup Website to coordinate and conduct meetings, share documentation for review, receive and respond to reviewer input, and post or share any additional relevant information or artifacts.

The HSWG Chairperson(s), through participation in the FGDC Coordination Group, will coordinate the Content Subgroup’s activities with the FGDC Secretariat, subcommittees, and working groups.


The Content Subgroup shall provide work progress status reports at the HSWG monthly meetings.  Subgroup work plans and a membership roster shall be maintained in concert with status provided at HSWG meetings and in accordance with established HSWG web presence practices.  Comments, recommendations and determinations, related to model reviews, shall be publicly reported on cycle agreed to by the HSWG.  The Content Subgroup Chair shall support the call for information for the annual reporting of the HSWG accomplishments and future directions.


The HSWG Content Subgroup shall remain in existence until terminated by the HSWG.