Capital Roundup

Two plans for U.S. Visit?

The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology office is set to release a strategic plan as requested by Congress. Not surprisingly, the program office is expected to ask for more money.

Still unknown, however, is how the strategic plan fits with the White House's plan to create a new Office of Screening Coordination and Operations, which will include U.S. Visit.

"You'll have to ask the administration," said a senior U.S. Visit official when asked how the two plans mesh together. "I've had a lot of questions on the screening center, and I've had to defer a lot of them," Scott Hastings, chief information officer of U.S. Visit, said at the FOSE 2005 trade show in Washington. 

Biometric 'passports' costly

The new biometric ID cards for first responders in the Washington, D.C., region will cost $3.9 million, according to a fiscal 2005 planning document obtained by Washington Technology.

The new joint initiative, sponsored by the Homeland Security Department and the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and suburbs, is intended to help control access at disaster scenes. It will go into effect later this year, said George Foresman, homeland security adviser to Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D).

No to umbrellas, yes to interoperability

"We're not giving away bags and umbrellas, so you might not want to stick around," Scott Hastings, CIO of U.S. Visit, jokingly told the crowd while introducing a forum on interoperability at FOSE.

But it was standing room only as Hastings and three other senior officials spoke about new projects.

The Transportation Security Administration is working on a "central monitoring infrastructure," to allow for "real-time information coordination," said CIO for the Customs and Border Protection division of DHS Charles Armstrong. Customs and Border Protection is creating an "information-sharing bus" to interact with various applications, said Rod MacDonald, the unit's CIO.

"There's interoperability from us sitting here talking like this," Hastings concluded.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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