HSIN pilot adds Dallas

DHS' SouthWest Emergency Response Network

In partnership with the FBI, Homeland Security Department officials today announced that they have provided various critical-infrastructure owners and operators, first responders, and local officials in Dallas with access to DHS' secure, encrypted communications network in the pilot test of a new program.

Similar pilots to connect local public- and private-sector officials to the department's Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) will follow in Seattle, Indianapolis and Atlanta. The tests will last through this year to determine feasibility in other cities.

The HSIN-Critical Infrastructure pilot will allow local and regional users in those cities to receive real-time DHS alerts and notifications through wireless and landline telephones, e-mail, fax machines and pagers.

Department officials aim to have HSIN, which was launched in late February, connect 55 states and territories; Washington, D.C.; and 50 major urban areas to facilitate the exchange of sensitive-but-unclassified data about potential threats. HSIN is based on the Joint Regional Information Exchange System, which was a joint creation among the Defense Intelligence Agency and law enforcement and counterterrorism officials in New York City and California.

The HSIN-Critical Infrastructure pilot in Dallas is modeled after the local FBI office's Emergency Response Network, a regional communications network for local law enforcement agencies and private-sector officials.

HSIN can send 10,000 simultaneous outbound voice calls, 5,000 e-mail messages and 3,000 fax transmissions per minute, while handling 30,000 simultaneous inbound calls through an information hot line. The network will also allow the public to submit information through the FBI TIPS (Terrorist Information and Prevention System) program, which would be then shared with DHS' Homeland Security Operations Center.

Public- and private-sector experts with support from regional coordinators govern and administer the HSIN-Critical Infrastructure program with help from Infrastructure Advisory Panels established by the four cities involved in the pilot tests.

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