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"Reinventing FEMA"

Officials in Arlington County, Va. — home to the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 10 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority subway stops — are working to achieve regional interoperability.

"We're trying to share," said David Jordan, chief information security officer for the county. "There shouldn't be any excuse not to have a fabric for data and voice throughout the region. These discussions are taking place. It's less complicated than one might think."

For instance, after meeting with representatives from Reagan National Airport, county officials learned that the two organizations' networks were less than a mile apart. "The biggest thing [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] can do is reach out to the local county folks and get them to develop these plans," Jordan said. "They can be the education coordinator."

But officials worry about areas where basic technology is still unavailable.

"There are many systems in place at the state level right now. At the local level, it gets a little murkier," said Gila Bronner, president of Bronner Group LLC, a Chicago-based government consulting firm specializing in e-government. "You have to look at a multilevel approach. Training is critical. You can't be in e-government if your workers aren't e-enabled."

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