DHS awards contract to study integration of terrorist databases

The Homeland Security Department has awarded a $30 million contract to a trio of consulting firms to study development of an integrated terrorist screening system.

The team is headed by Thomas & Herbert Consulting LLC of Silver Spring, Md., and includes BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., and SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va. The contract is a one-year blanket purchase agreement with four, one-year options.

The contract is to help DHS meet requirements to consolidate terrorist screening activities, now handled in a number of separate databases by separate agencies. The initial task order is to study existing work processes and data flow of terrorist information within DHS and to develop plans for a future system with improved data sharing.

Two key elements in the screening program are the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and the Terrorist Screening Center.

The Terrorist Threat Integration Center is the consolidated DHS repository for information from the nation's intelligence community. It currently provides online data to 2,600 users with top secret clearance and there are plans to expand access to include those with secret clearance.

TTIC eventually is to provide information for the Terrorist Screening Center, an FBI-funded center managed by DHS. TSC is responsible for handling the government's consolidated watch lists and now provides information to local law enforcement agencies through a call-in service. An integrated online terrorist watch database is not expected before the end of the year.

Finding ways to enable secure information sharing between the centers while ensuring privacy is a goal of the consulting contract. Thomas & Herbert also may supply operational technical support for TSC and TTIC.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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