Homeland CIO outlines priorities

The Homeland Security Department's (DHS) chief information officer outlined his top priorities today: help first responders do their jobs, develop better wireless systems and use geospatial technology to keep America secure.

Steve Cooper, the CIO at the new department, told an industry gathering that it is essential to move quickly to build DHS' infrastructure because "state-sponsored terrorists and al Qaeda are not going to wait until we have our act together."

He said that in the coming months, the agency would look for ways to develop better wireless systems for police, firefighters and other first responders. And he said DHS intended to tap visual technology to help do its job.

"Almost everything we do related to homeland security can be represented visually. A picture is worth a thousand words," Cooper told the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

He said he and his information technology team will complete an inventory of IT assets brought together by the merger of 22 federal agencies. It will be evaluated for "reuse, renewal, retirement or enhancement," and he expects to decide what systems to keep and what to retire by August.

In the next six weeks, DHS will issue a series of requests for information about wireless and geospatial technology to help officials decide how to create the best systems.

Cooper said the department intends to combine the Wireless Public Safety Interoperable Communications program, or Project SafeCom, which is designed to ensure that federal, state and local safety workers can communicate during emergencies, with the Public Safety Wireless Network, a joint program between the Treasury and Justice departments to replace aging land mobile radio systems used by 70,000 law enforcement agencies.

"We need to build the highway upon which you need to put information," Cooper said.

He compared the information highway to the interstate highway built in the 1950s to protect America.

While the highway system was intended to move troops across the country in the event of an attack, it became the major source for transporting commerce and developing rural America. For every dollar spent, there was a $16 return, Cooper said.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.