DHS to fund state, local pilots

Homeland Security Department officials seek proposals from state and local governments for small, innovative collaboration pilot projects, using $12 million approved by Congress as part of the department's fiscal 2004 budget.

The projects basically would be demonstrations of how leading-edge commercial technology can foster integration and collaboration between the many parts of government that work together for homeland security, said Steve Cooper, chief information officer at DHS.

"It can't be the same-old, same-old," Cooper said.

Department officials want to fund 12 to 24 projects, depending on "how much we can do before the money runs out," Cooper said today at a breakfast sponsored by Input in Arlington, Va.

Proposals must:

* Require less than $1 million in federal funding, since DHS is only providing "seed money," Cooper said.

* Deliver value, based on performance goals set by the pilot group, in three to six months.

* Connect more than one level of government and at least two sectors of the first responder arena.

DHS officials have been laying the groundwork for these regional pilots for more than a year, but now that they have approval from Congress, the money will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, Cooper said.

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