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NIEM’s History

NIEM has come a long way since it was formally launched in April 2005 by the Chief Information Officers of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice. Learn how it all began.

It began as a grassroots effort

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NIEM’s origins lie in the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative. This grassroots effort by a handful of organizations supporting state and local government set in motion the creation of a seamless, interoperable model for data exchange across government agencies. The pre-release of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) was announced in April 2003.

Parallel to the GJXDM effort was the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the mention of metadata in the President’s strategy for the homeland security community to begin working towards standardization.

These efforts by the justice and homeland security communities to produce a set of common, well-defined data elements for data exchange development and harmonization led to the standup of NIEM.

NIEM is born

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Built on GJXDM's success and lessons learned from its user base, NIEM was formally launched in April 2005 by the Chief Information Officers of DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice. NIEM united key stakeholders from federal, state, local, and tribal governments as well as the private sector to develop and deploy a national model for information sharing and the organizational structure to govern it.

In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services joined as the third steward of NIEM. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense mandated enterprise-wide use of NIEM. Since then, departments including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have adopted NIEM as well. Since 2005, NIEM has issued seven releases, including the most recent release, NIEM 5.2.

NIEM now

The NIEM Program is maturing and our user community continues to grow. Today all 50 states and many federal agencies are using (at varying levels of maturity) or considering using NIEM. The benefits of NIEM have also extended to Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia.

Now that you’ve heard a bit about NIEM’s past, learn more about what NIEM is working on for tomorrow. Visit the NIEM Strategic Initiatives page to learn more.

NIEM Timeline


  • In April 2005, NIEM is born. Established by the CIOs of DHS and DOJ, NIEM was built on the successes of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM).
  • The NIEM Executive Steering Council (ESC), Program Management Office (PMO), and Committees are established to govern the program


NIEM 1.0 is released.


NIEM 2.0 is released.


NIEM releases a high-level tool architecture to be a guide for NIEM-supporting software tools.


NIEM celebrates its success with the first-ever Best of NIEM awards to recognize NIEM implementation projects that demonstrate how intergovernmental collaboration and innovative technology deliver results that improve performance, increase efficiency, and support transparency.

Best of NIEM icon


HHS joins as the third steward of NIEM.


  • The New York Times recognizes NIEM's success

  • At North America Day, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pilot the exchange of public health and safety information using NIEM—a significant first step in the development of a borderless network of information exchange between the three countries.

  • NIEM holds its second Best of NIEM awards.


  • The White House recognizes NIEM as a "successful better enable information sharing."

  • NIEM extends beyond international borders to support the EPOC project in the fight against serious and organized crime


  • NIEM 3.0 is released at NIEM in November event.

  • The Object Management Group (OMG) Board of Directors finalized the Unified Modeling Language (UML) Profile for NIEM (or NIEM-UML) as an OMG specification.

  • NASCIO highlights NIEM as an example of effective governance that enables cross-jurisdictional collaboration.

  • U.S. Department of Defense further adopts NIEM and establishes the NIEM Military Operations subcommittee.

  • NIEM holds its third Best of NIEM awards.


  • NIEM launches a site on GitHub, a crowdsourcing platform that provides the community with resources to help them use NIEM and make NIEM easier for others to use.

  • A NIEM release cycle was established to incorporate change on a predictable schedule. A Major Release can be expected every three years, with a minor release potentially occurring every 12 months.

  • Army coalition forces adopt NIEM.

  • NIEM formalizes Subcommittee Onboarding Process.

  • NIEM holds its fourth Best of NIEM awards at NIEM in November.


NIEM celebrates its 10th birthday!


NIEM launches NIEM version 3.2.


  • Initial guidance around the use of JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) with NIEM is provided.

  • NIEM launches NIEM version 4.0.


NIEM launches NIEM version 4.1.


NIEM launches NIEM version 4.2.


NIEM launches NIEM version 5.0.


NIEM launches NIEM version 5.1.


NIEM launches NIEM version 5.2.


What's next for NIEM? Over the next two (2) years, the NIEM Management Office (NMO) will begin the formal transition to becoming an OASIS Open Standard. This initiative will allow NIEM to be designated as an official standard in national and international policy and procurement.

As the program continues to evolve, we will continue to look for ways to simplify use, embrace emerging technologies, and welcome new communities. With your continued involvement, we look forward to seeing NIEM's impact in helping organizations exchange information to improve decision making, increase efficiency, and advance their missions.