Tech aids coordination on inauguration security

Federal and local law enforcement agencies are using a new information-sharing program to coordinate their responses to potential terrorism threats during the presidential inauguration.

The program, called eGuardian, will enable law enforcement officials from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department to compare and analyze tips they receive from the public — called suspicious activity reports (SARs).

The system is a step up from technology used during previous inaugurations, said Gerald Rogero, an FBI supervisory special agent who is the business program manager for eGuardian. In the past, law enforcement officials created virtual command centers that enabled them to post details about security incidents, but they had no tool that made it possible to access information on SARs.

“Previously, it would be a combination of telephonic contact [and] coordination in a joint operations center,” he said. “But obviously, in an event of this magnitude, there are multiple joint operations centers. By having a central location to post these incidents and collaborate on them and be able to search them, run reports, it’s creating…a certain level of flexibility.”

During the inaugural period, reports made through local authorities in Washington are first entered into the police department’s internal system, Rogero said. If officials decide an incident warrants further scrutiny and should be shared with the FBI, they enter it into eGuardian, where it will be available to the larger law enforcement community.

Any eGuardian entries that are determined to have a possible terrorism connection will be entered into Guardian, a classified FBI system of which Rogero is also the business program manager. However, officials will still contact FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces by phone for urgent threats, and the information will then be entered into the system, Rogero said.

eGuardian is being tested as part of a yearlong initiative led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment.

John Cohen, a senior adviser to the PM-ISE who helped coordinate the SAR effort for the inauguration, said officials will incorporate the lessons they are learning as they prepare to launch the SAR process nationally.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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