Homeland watch

DHS calls on private sector

The president of the Washington-based Homeland Security Industries Association is getting an inside view of Gulf Coast reconstruction.

Twice a week, Bruce Aitken joins a conference call with officials from the Homeland Security Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local agencies to coordinate private sector involvement in the rebuilding.

"Right now, reconstruction is happening on a parish-by-parish basis," Aitken said. "This will go on for years."

The non-profit association, which has more than 400 members, may set up an office in the Gulf Coast area to facilitate cooperation with local officials, Aitken said.

Workforce needs a lift

The nation needs to reinvigorate its cybersecurity workforce to address critical problems with the IT infrastructure, a National Infrastructure Advisory Council working group said.

The group wants federal funds for cyber-research and development priorities. A coordinating body for cybersecurity research is needed, as well as expanded internships and employment opportunities.

A standard certification program also is needed for information assurance positions in government.

A privately administered, public-private infrastructure advisory training body would oversee the certification program, the working group said in an Oct. 11 report.

DHS ties extend beyond Myers

Julie Myers has been criticized for her alleged lack of experience for the position of assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at DHS, a post for which the White House nominated her.

A former chief of staff to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff while they were at the Justice Department, Myers is married to Chertoff's chief of staff, John Frederick Wood.

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