Homeland security chiefs outline IT requirements

IT leaders from the White House and intelligence agencies gave homeland security a push forward Aug. 19 by pooling their information-sharing plans.

"It's about all of us figuring out how to share information to meet the needs of those combating terrorism," said Homeland Security Office Chief Information Officer Steven Cooper at the Government Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland Security in Philadelphia.

Cooper said the government needs to open a dialogue on the effects of laws and policies that restrict information sharing among federal agencies. But, he added, "it is important that we do not swing the pendulum too far and jeopardize our civil rights and civil liberties."

Cooper has formed four CIO working groups to analyze matters surrounding information sharing: border and transportation security; first responders; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction; and state and local information. He said the border and transportation group is the furthest along in its work

"Just last week we met with a team that the National Association of State CIOs chartered to develop some definitions and plans," Cooper said.

Winston Wiley, associate CIA director for homeland security, said his agency would support all activities of the proposed Homeland Security Department, not just its intelligence operations. The CIA director "said the department's most important role would be translating the enemy's activities overseas into a system of protection for this country," Wiley said.

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