State CIOs to advise on homeland

NASCIO members to form group to help the federal government on technology-related homeland security matters

Office of Homeland Security

Chief information officers from state governments have been asked to form

a small working group to help the federal government on technology-related

homeland security matters, including the creation of a national plan.

The request came following a meeting May 23 between members of the National

Association of State Chief Information Officers and Bush administration

officials.

Steve Cooper, senior director of information integration and CIO for

the Office of Homeland Security, asked NASCIO representatives to form the

advisory group to help him and Treasury Department CIO Jim Flyzik, who is

on detail to the homeland office.

Rock Regan, NASCIO president and Connecticut's CIO, said he will "try

to put together a team that can be very supportive and available. Their

timeline is very tight, so it's something that we have to have some commitment

to." He said he promised Cooper that he will respond by next week.

"We're the ones providing the infrastructure to make sure the information

flows, so I think that as the homeland [office] starts to [create] the document

— the national strategy — and some guidelines around it, we want to be

involved early to make sure that what they're putting in place is actually

doable from our perspective," Regan said, adding that the working group

will be composed of four or five people.

A first draft of the national strategy is due to President Bush by the

end of June, and a senior administration official said earlier this month

that the plan — outlining how the Office of Homeland Security expects to

use information technology to help secure the nation from terrorist attacks

— may not address all the concerns of federal agencies and state and local

governments.

Eight state CIOs were in Washington, D.C, May 22 and 23 to meet with

members of Congress and their staffs as well as executive branch officials.

Regan characterized it as an "educational outreach" to the federal government

on specific issues, including homeland security, e-government, identity

security, cybersecurity, federal funding procedures regarding IT, and the

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Kentucky CIO Aldona Valicenti said the trip — which was the second

such trip in six months and which NASCIO intends to make an annual event

— is intended as "an offer to legislators that we're a resource" so they

can have a "much deeper understanding" of how states do business.

NASCIO representatives, during a roundtable discussion with journalists,

said they had more than 30 meetings in the two days. In addition to Cooper,

the group met with John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure

Assurance Office; Mark Forman, the Office of Management and Budget's associate

director of IT and e-government; David McClure, director of IT management

issues at the General Accounting Office; and representatives from the Federal

Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the FBI,

the CIA and the Justice Department.

The meetings between federal and state representatives are significant

because historically, the governments have been resistant to share information

and work together. Regan said meetings with executive branch officials were

particularly "amazing" and "continue to get better."

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