Homeland watch

$1B to pay for interoperability

As they distribute a new, $1 billion fund for interoperability, the Homeland Security and Commerce departments will try not to penalize states that already have enhanced radio communications, John Kneuer, assistant secretary at the National Telecommunications Information Administration, said at a congressional hearing March 14. The program will help public safety agencies buy systems in the 700 MHz band. But what about Pennsylvania and other states that have invested in the 800 MHz band? "We clearly recognize that we should not ...create any disincentive to leverage existing resources and existing infrastructure," Kneuer said.

Harman: States need input into ITAC

Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., criticized DHS for not advocating for state and local involvement in the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group. "How this group ? which is supposed to be creating unclassified products for state, local and tribal law enforcement officers across the country ? is going to be effective, with only one local law enforcement person on staff, is beyond me," Harman said at the hearing of the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Information Sharing on March 14.

Schneider promotes DHS move

Paul Schneider, undersecretary for management at DHS, recently made one of the first public arguments for moving DHS headquarters and other facilities to the St. Elizabeth's West campus in southeast Washington, D.C. Currently, the department operates at more than 60 locations with 7.1 million square feet throughout D.C. and its suburbs. "This dispersal adversely impacts critical communication, coordination and cooperation across the department. Consolidating executive leadership in a secure setting of no less than 4.5 million [square feet] of office space ... at the St. Elizabeth's campus is vital to the long-term success of the department," Schneider said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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