Homeland info sharing advances

The Office of Homeland Security is moving forward with several initiatives

to develop a homeland security information technology enterprise architecture

that encompasses not only federal requirements but also the needs of state

and local governments and the private sector.

Within the next month, the office will launch a Web site for people

at all levels of the public and private sectors to access and share information

on existing homeland security-related projects, best practices and centers

of excellence, said Steve Cooper, senior director for information integration

and chief information officer for the Office of Homeland Security. Cooper

was speaking Aug. 19 at the Government Symposium on Information Sharing

and Homeland Security in Philadelphia.

The Office of Homeland Security is working on several pilot projects

based on initiatives at the state and local levels, including a 10-state

coalition testing methods for sharing federal law enforcement information

and intelligence with state law enforcement agencies, Cooper said. The more

projects and practices that the government can find and build on, the more

likely it is that change will occur, he said.

"This Web site will enable us to begin to share and communicate what's

going on," he said.

In another effort to reach out to the state and local level, Office

of Homeland Security officials met with the National Association of State

Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) last week in Cincinnati to start working

on state requirements for the enterprise architecture. In that first meeting,

officials dealt with the basic questions of definitions and the approach

that should be taken, Cooper said.

Because local-level officials are dispersed, homeland security officials

are still trying to figure out the best way to contact them and keep in

touch, he said.

"It is imperative that we all participate and that we get this enterprise

architecture right," Cooper said. "We have got to hear from everybody."

The Office of Homeland Security has also chartered three CIO working

groups at the federal level, looking at the architecture needs for border

security, emergency response, and chemical, biological, radiological and

nuclear hazards. These working groups align with the areas outlined in the

Bush administration's proposed structure for the proposed Homeland Security

Department, Cooper said.

The working groups pull together the CIOs from the agencies involved

in each of these efforts, and other working groups will be assembled as

they are needed, he said.

The Defense Department and the intelligence community are already talking

with the Office of Homeland Security about the possibility of setting up

another working group for intelligence information, said Roseanne Hynes,

senior executive of DOD's homeland security task force.

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