Info systems on fast track

Agencies across government are speeding up the procurement and implementation of information systems that will assist the homeland security effort.

Information sharing is key to homeland security, and almost every White House initiative in this effort includes a directive to find technology that can help agencies share data. Many agencies already had such programs in the works, but now they are getting more attention and money than anyone expected, officials said at a Nov. 1 breakfast hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

The State Department has been working on its Overseas Presence Collaboration/Knowledge Management System since the beginning of the year. It is intended to bring together almost 40 agencies with overseas staff in a single network, enabling people to share information around the globe in real time, said Fernando Burbano, State's chief information officer.

The timeline for this system was always fairly short: The prototype is due this month and the pilot is scheduled to start shortly afterward in Mexico and India. The plan for the system and the overall State IT strategy was put together in response to the 1998 bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Burbano said.

But Tom Ridge, the new director of the Office of Homeland Security, is looking to the system as a possible solution for information sharing, and that gives the project even more urgency, Burbano said.

The FBI also is accelerating its Trilogy modernization program, which started out with a three-year timeframe. Trilogy forms the basis of all future technology plans at the agency, which is at the forefront of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks. Until the modernization is complete, the FBI is unable to take advantage of any information-sharing solutions being offered by industry, said Mark Tanner, the agency's information resources manager.

Robert Mueller, the new director of the FBI, started pushing the agency to move more quickly on Trilogy shortly after taking the position in August, and officials were speaking with the contractors about how to do that, Tanner said.

But after Sept. 11, the FBI received extra money and was told to see how fast it could make the modernization happen, he said. The program's new completion date is set for December 2002.

Other agencies' systems may not be as high profile, but they also are getting a push from agency and White House officials as IT is being called into service to help win the war against terrorism, said Doug Naquin, deputy CIO at the CIA.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.