Homeland portal to give firms input

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) will soon unveil a new Web site intended to provide a central point for industry to submit ideas, technologies and solutions to the department.

The site will be the start of formal communications between the information technology sector and DHS, where vendors will be able to submit information on everything from their expertise to their products. Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, agencies have been struggling to figure out how to collect and access all the potential information and solutions from government.

"This is a first step," Steve Cooper, DHS' chief information officer, said April 8. "It's not perfect because at the moment, it's kind of a one-way input," but there is already a database sitting at the back end waiting to receive and categorize information, and both the site and system will continue to evolve, he said, speaking at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

Cooper's office has already released several requests for information, and will likely soon release a request for proposals for help with enterprise architecture work, he said.

And while wireless, geospatial and collaboration technologies are still top priorities for the department, modeling and simulation will require a lot of work, Cooper said. There are many interesting tools and applications that the private sector is using and that the government in general, and DHS in particular, are not taking advantage of, he said.

However, in order to really move forward on modeling and simulation, the department will need funding that will not come through until fiscal 2004, Cooper said.

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