Homeland IT office reaching out

The Office of Homeland Security's information technology office soon will begin a big outreach to public- and private-sector entities not yet directly involved in the homeland security effort, officials said Sept. 10.

Starting Sept. 24, officials from the office will be meeting with chief information officers at the federal agencies not tapped to move into the proposed Homeland Security Department, said Jim Flyzik, former CIO at the Treasury Department and now on detail to the Office of Homeland Security as an IT adviser.

While the IT projects at those agencies have not been affected by the Office of Homeland Security's efforts to integrate systems and processes, many projects and initiatives throughout government will be involved in homeland security in some way, Flyzik said.

Federal homeland officials have been working with the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) for some time, but on Sept. 24 that contact will expand to the non-IT groups as officials plan to meet with a gathering of every possible state, local and tribal organization, Flyzik said.

The list includes the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governors' Association and the National Association of Counties.

The role of state and local officials has been made clear in the National Strategy for Homeland Security and other documents over the past year. However, the private sector also has an important role to play, if only because of the vast amounts of information held in private systems, Flyzik said.

"A lot of the information we need isn't in government databases, it's in private databases," he said.

Because of this, the Office of Homeland Security will reach out to private-sector entities, meeting with them next month at a Gartner Inc. conference in Orlando, Fla., Flyzik said.

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