DHS seeks major overhaul of organization

Read Secretary Chertoff's speech

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Improving information sharing is one of six priorities in a sweeping overhaul of the Homeland Security Department, which DHS announced today.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff presented the results of a comprehensive 90-day review of the department this afternoon Washington, D.C.

In an advance copy of the speech, Chertoff said intelligence and improved, expanded information sharing will be a priority.

“Information sharing is a two-way street,” he said. “Therefore, we will move forward not only to help forge common federal tools for information sharing but also work with state and local officials – and private-sector infrastructure owners – to fuse and share a richer intelligence base. In short, we will promote greater situational awareness.”

Information sharing is one of six major priorities for DHS as it modifies operations, Chertoff said. The others are preparedness, border security, transportation security, department management and adjustments to better meet DHS’ homeland security mission, the secretary said.

DHS will create a new office to oversee policy departmentwide, Chertoff said. The department will also create a new operations coordination office to improve accountability.

Technology plays an important role in meeting the department’s goals, Chertoff said. So does improving IT management and delivering core IT systems, he said.

DHS will improve aviation security by using existing and developing technologies, Chertoff said. Passenger screening systems will automatically clear low-risk travelers and protect all passengers’ privacy, he said.

Port security will be enhanced by completing the deployment of radiation portal detectors at all ports and encouraging the development of new nonintrusive detection technologies, Chertoff said.

In addition, “we are developing a new approach to controlling the border that includes an integrated mix of additional staffing, new technology and enhanced infrastructure investment,” Chertoff said.

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