DHS to award contract for biosurveillance system

The Homeland Security Department expects to award a contract in mid-summer to develop the National Biosurveillance Integration System, a critical piece of the administration's strategy to handle a pandemic, such as avian flu.

DHS plans for an initial version of the biosurveillance information management system six months after the award, said Kimothy Smith, DHS chief veterinarian, chief scientist and acting deputy chief medical officer.

The biosurveillance system will aggregate and integrate information from food, agricultural, public health and environmental monitoring and the intelligence community from federal and state agencies and private sources to provide an early warning system for an outbreak or possible bioterrorism attack.

"By integrating and fusing this large amount of available information, we can begin to develop a baseline or background against which we can recognize anomalies and changes of significance indicating potential biological events," he told the House Homeland Security Committee's prevention of nuclear and biological attack subcommittee yesterday.

DHS will combine the biosurveillance patterns and trends with threat information and include the completed product in its Common Operating Picture, which DHS distributes through the Homeland Security Information Network. The biosurveillance system will also send back to its system partner agencies completed situational awareness in real-time streams.

DHS established a pilot in December to test basic operational capability. It provides internal connectivity and produces daily and weekly situational awareness reports for DHS and some interagency partners but chiefly acts as a test-bed environment to understand the requirements for the full information management system, Smith said.

The challenge is for the biosurveillance system to accept large quantities of diverse information in any format, standardize the data and prepare it for use with data from other sources, he said.

Information will come from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's BioSense system, which reports syndromic surveillance from hospitals and pharmacies, and the BioWatch system, which monitors aerosols for biothreat agents in major metropolitan areas. DHS leads and funds BioWatch, but CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI operate it.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.