Biowatch sets high standard for homeland security programs

A homeland security program that guards 30 cities against possible biological attack represents the high standards the Homeland Security Department wants from its projects, an agency official said today.

The Biowatch program has not had a single false alarm since it was established a year ago, Charles McQueary, DHS undersecretary for science and technology, told attendees at the department's first industry forum in Washington today.

Although the monitoring installations have not detected any biological attacks by terrorists, they have detected naturally occurring agents, McQueary said. Biowatch "is an example of a [DHS] system ... with low false alarms," he said.

DHS' two-day industry forum offers the private sector information on how to do business with the department. Features include briefings by officials from the department's five directorates.

McQueary described the task facing DHS in protecting the American public from threats as both enormous and daunting. "It's impossible for DHS to guard against all possible threats," he said.

Still, the department wants to move quickly to address all threats to domestic security, he said.

Private-sector participation is essential to the department's ability to meet threats that range from border and airline security to cyber and critical infrastructure security, McQueary said.

"We want a viable solution to prevent another attack on American soil," he said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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