The MAX Federal Community: What is it?


Unless you have been hiding under a rock in the caves of Afghanistan over the past two years, you may have heard of the Federal Government’s push to lock down and secure access to IT systems and applications. The impetus behind this was a mandate from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) back in 2010 towards which the government has slowly been working towards implementation. With the OPM breach acting as an instigator, agencies that previously were plodding along in this venture have suddenly jumped in with both feet and more progress has been made in the last 6 months than the previous 4 years. Now, with most agencies on board, OMB efforts to increase collaboration and information sharing securely among federal agencies, contractors, and non-federal partners are bearing fruit.

One such example is a site called MAX Federal Community which currently has over 150,000 users from over 180 agencies and non-federal partners. The site is operated by OMB and is free, with the information and content posted being jointly owned by the contributing agency and the inter-governmental site owner.  Some refer to it as a “wiki” where you can easily create, contribute and edit content, others use it as a collaboration tool across agencies where communicating securely was previously an issue. Users can search for and collaborate with other agencies or users, access documentation and information, create discussion groups or workflow processes, set up online meetings, and collect analytic data for briefings. This idea is a part of the bigger picture outlined in moving towards Federal Identity Credential & Access Management (FICAM) implementation. The end goal is to leverage digital infrastructure to securely conduct business electronically between Federal agencies, their business and coalition partners and with the American public, by promoting the use of authentication, digital signature, and encryption technologies to attaining greater interoperability and increased security.