Tightening the loop

During the initial push to create the Homeland Security Department, chief information officer Steve Cooper was able to put together staffs for e-mail, networks and other technology. Now, the task is to find a contractor to create a new secure data network to support vital operations.

DHS officials expect to release open bids on the network this month, and they plan to select a team and complete the first phase of development by the end of the year.

"It's our classified network," Cooper said. "This is the network on which we are going to move classified information within DHS and will have [the] capability to connect externally. It is one of the high priorities for '04."

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