Feds offer seed money

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers

A senior White House official said the federal government would like to

initiate relatively low-cost intergovernmental pilot projects with state

and local governments that would show measurable results within a short

time.

By providing such seed money, the federal government can "get something

going to demonstrate here's the way forward," said Steve Cooper, senior

director of information integration and chief information officer for the

Office of Homeland Security. "I'm not really going to get involved in worrying

about funding a three-year, $200 million initiative to do something. I just

don't have the luxury."

Such pilots would be three to six months in duration and cost less than

$1 million, he said. But they must produce "tangible, measurable and actionable

value for intended recipients."

Cross-organizational pilots would include first responders from criminal

justice, fire and emergency medical services; public safety and public health;

as well as those involved with corporate facilities security around critical

infrastructure, he said.

It's a way to "encourage communities of practice to begin to interact

with one another in a way that, historically, they haven't had to or they've

chosen not to," he said.

Cooper spoke at the National Association of State Chief Information

Officers annual conference Oct. 28 in St. Louis. He was trying to encourage

government and corporate attendees to weigh in and provide assistance to

the Homeland Security Office.

He offered two intergovernmental proposals under consideration:

* One is a multistate initiative, led by the Florida Department of Law

Enforcement, that would link federal intelligence information with state

and local law enforcement. Cooper said it is one of the projects that the

National Governors Association alluded to several weeks ago.

* Another is a four-state effort in the Southwest that would involve

federal border security, the U.S. Commerce Department and state economic

groups. "So what we're doing is we're taking something that has a security

impact and broadening it in a beneficial way to enhance the economic issue

to the benefit of the states," he said.

Cooper said he'd like to start such initiatives as soon as possible.

"We'd be ready to go tomorrow as soon as we get funding from congress,"

he said.

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