New department needs fast start

The proposed Homeland Security Department should hit the ground running with significant IT capabilities, a senior administration official said.

Steve Cooper, chief information officer of the Homeland Security Office, said his office is preparing for the possibility of providing the department with systems it can use from its first day.

The proposed department should rapidly deploy a homeland security portal that would provide "the right information to the right people all the time," Cooper said.

The level of access the portal must provide should depend on what the information will be used for. This shifts the distribution of security data from an emphasis on the people receiving the information to the role of the information itself. "This is easier to do with unclassified information," he said.

An early priority of the agency will be intelligence analysis, data fusion and infrastructure protection, Cooper said.

Other early capabilities will be basic IT functions, such as providing common

e-mail access to the proposed department's 170,000 employees, but he said that deploying e-mail immediately would be a "nontrivial" task.


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