Model to guide homeland investments

The national enterprise architecture for homeland security is far from being complete, but officials have committed to providing at least one usable piece within the next 90 days, said Lee Holcomb, director of infostructure for the Office of Homeland Security.

The architecture model will outline the connections between technologies currently in place and will be used to guide officials in what investments to make for the infrastructure of the proposed Homeland Security Department, Holcomb said Nov. 13 at a conference sponsored by Silicon Graphics Inc.

The model, based on models under development by task groups working under Holcomb, aim to define mission-specific needs in four areas: border and transportation security, intelligence and warning, weapons of mass destruction, and first responders.

Federal agencies will mostly use the program, Holcomb said, even though the entire homeland security enterprise architecture is intended to be a national architecture that includes state and local technologies and needs. However, the Office of Homeland Security is working closely with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), and this product will be the basis for future work, he said.

The architecture cannot move much faster simply because the structure that it must support will not be set until Congress finishes the bill to create the proposed department, he said.

Right now, the IT Investment Review Group oversees investment decisions for homeland security. The group, headed by Office of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget, has cataloged technology in the agencies slated to move into the proposed department and ranked the different technology areas by color, Holcomb said.

Red signifies that the technology in that area is very diverse. Yellow signifies that the majority of agencies are using the same technology or approach. Green signifies that there is a common approach in place.

Several areas have been labeled green. In the yellow areas, the review group has asked some of the agencies to pause investing in a new technology until the homeland security bill is passed and the complete enterprise architecture can be set, Holcomb said.

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