On the homeland security front

Steve LeSueur

"You've basically invited the private sector to ring any number of 100,000 doorbells in Washington."

That's how Tom Siebel described the government's call for industry to bring forward its most innovative ideas and technologies. The chief executive of Siebel Systems Inc., testifying before a House panel, was expressing the frustration of many technology executives who would like more centralized direction for the homeland security effort.

By all accounts, President Bush moved rapidly following the Sept. 11 attacks to fight terrorism. He immediately appointed Tom Ridge director of homeland security. He asked for ? and Congress approved ? $40 billion in homeland security funding. And he's asked for another $38 billion in fiscal 2003.

But what the Bush administration hasn't done yet is provide an overall blueprint for its homeland security strategy. And that's what industry officials want to see, so they can better prepare their own plans for participating in the war on terrorism.

In this issue, Senior Editor Nick Wakeman takes an in-depth look at the nation's homeland security effort, asking what's been accomplished so far and, most important, where are we heading. Although Ridge says the blueprint won't be ready until this summer, Nick found plenty of clues to get a good sense of likely directions and integrator opportunities.

Techtoon

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