State CIOs to advise on homeland
- By Dibya Sarkar
- May 24, 2002
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
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
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."