DHS needs asset info

A national inventory of critical homeland security assets is still not complete, but more money or people at the Homeland Security Department wouldn't make the process go any faster, Robert Liscouski, the department's assistant secretary for infrastructure protection, said today.

Officials governmentwide were working on the national inventory well before the department existed, and DHS officials have made it a top priority, Liscouski said. The department started in March 2003 with a list of 160 assets, and now the database holds more than 33,000, with approximately 1,700 of those identified as high profile, he told a joint hearing of the House Homeland Security Select Committee's Cybersecurity Science and Research and Development, and Infrastructure and Border Security subcommittees.

Representatives from both subcommittees wanted a timeline, or at least a list of challenges. It is not only important to identify the assets in order to protect them at the local level, but the inventory would also help Congress determine where funding and program needs are nationwide, said Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas), ranking member on the full committee.

The biggest problem so far has been getting officials at other federal agencies, state governments and nongovernment entities to identify their assets and give that information to DHS officials for approval and correlation, he said, adding that the department cannot and should not be identifying those assets. "It's not a money issue

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