Editor's Note: DHS makeover has people talking

Steve LeSueur

The Department of Homeland Security's plan to combine nine major screening programs under one office makes sense on paper, but it's got a lot of contractors worried about what it means for programs.

"There will probably be some IT companies with strong positions right now that think [the Office of Screening Coordination and Operations] is a threat," said one executive.

President Bush proposed creating the office in his fiscal 2006 budget. Programs in the new coordination office would share a budget of $847 million;
U.S. Visit is slated to take a large slice at $390 million.

While the proposed consolidation creates uncertainty about the future of some programs, it also holds the promise of fresh business.

"The consolidation will create new opportunities for new investments that the systems integration community and the solutions provider community will participate in ? they'll win their fair share," another exec said.

Staff Writer Roseanne Gerin's front-page story has the details about the new screening office, while Staff Writer Alice Lipowicz has the story on other consolidation efforts within DHS. Taken together, the stories show DHS intends to take serious steps toward to integrating its many agencies and offices.

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