DHS network to link to others

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DHS' sinking SPIRIT

Homeland Security Department officials are considering using a classified network to link state and local governments and federal civilian agencies.

Steve Cooper, DHS' chief information officer, told a breakfast meeting for industry leaders Aug. 5 that discussions are under way to make multiple uses of the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN), which Northrop Grumman Corp. is building under a $350 million contract awarded in April.

He likened the idea to the Defense Department's classified Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. He said there likely would be gateways between the civilian and defense networks if the idea proves feasible.

He said information-sharing efforts include making sure 56 U.S. states and territories are linked by the end of the year. He has previously said that DHS officials have set an aggressive goal to move from multiple networks to one by December.

Sharing information is a big deal, Cooper said. "It is going to expand."

In other areas, Cooper said:

CIO Council leaders are prepared to respond if they are asked for comments by the 9-11 Commission, which recently

issued its report on whether the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could have been

prevented.

DHS officials are working on tightening security and training workers to make sure they know how to handle security issues. Officials also are using a digital system that helps them keep track of who has received training.

Department officials will release a draft request for proposals soon to help move DHS to one infrastructure.

DHS Enterprise Architecture 2.0 is likely to be released in September.

Cooper is working on what he called a bandwidth challenge that includes greater compression of data. DHS officials are moving data via "not very up-to-date networks," he said.

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