System links defense, local agencies

Information sharing between the Defense Department and state and local emergency

responders is just as important to homeland security as sharing in law enforcement,

and a pilot project under way in New York and California is testing a new

Web-based system to foster that partnership.

The Defense Intelligence Agency's Joint Intelligence Task Force-Counterterrorism

developed its Regional Information Sharing System Network Information Exchange

System to provide an end-to-end system connecting federal, state and local

organizations, said Air Force Col. George Narenic, director for the program

at DIA. He was speaking Jan. 10 at the Government Convention on Emerging

Technologies in Las Vegas.

The system allows participants to share information collection, analysis,

collaboration and warning tools. The pilot test with DIA, DOD's Northern

Command, the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center and the New York

Police Department started Dec. 23, 2002, and will run through Feb. 6, Narenic

said.

The system is an entirely commercial off-the-shelf solution, and users

can either have a dedicated server, database and tools or a regional or

central server. Then users connect via a Web-based client from a desktop

or mobile system.

"What we wanted was a system that had no single point of failure and

that leveraged all the existing resources and tools that are out there,"

Narenic said.

DIA and others will evaluate the results of the pilot test during February

and examine other capabilities that can be added, including biometrics and

the ability to search video and audio files, he said.

The Office of Homeland Security is examining the pilot project, and

the system likely will be moved to the new Homeland Security Department.

No matter who is in charge, officials are planning to integrate the system

into the links of other existing information sharing systems through the

intelligence community's Open Source Information System, Narenic said.

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