Homeland watch: In brief

Concerns over IT sector

Executives preparing the IT sector critical infrastructure protection plan are grappling with several concerns, said Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance and a leader on the IT sector coordinating committee.

"We've made some initial headway, but there are some very large questions," he said. Areas of uncertainty include defining national cyberincidents, setting protocols for dealing with such incidents and outlining circumstances for sharing information.

"Unfortunately, there is still not a lot of clarity about who is responsible and who is calling the shots," Kurtz said.

Prepare for sabotage

The Homeland Security Department and the Boeing Co. must be ready for sabotage attempts on the Secure Border Initiative Network surveillance system, warns an expert on such security efforts.

U.S. surveillance activities often are vulnerable to attacks from radio frequency jamming from across the border, buried cables quickly dug up and cut, and armed intruders shooting surveillance cameras and spotlights.

"Private 'coyotes' and illegals from the other side have created rogue radio frequency transmissions that interfere with our communications and radar fences themselves," said the expert, who asked not to be identified because he recently did work for a DHS border agency.

Chertoff is for fusion

DHS is extending its reach into state-operated intelligence fusion centers, aiming to have personnel in 20 centers by the end of fiscal 2007, and in up to 35 centers by the end of the fiscal 2008, Secretary Michael Chertoff told the International Association of Chiefs of Police Oct. 16.

DHS to date has invested about $380 million in such centers and will continue to support them, he said.

"We're going to build new information systems to further facilitate collaboration and sharing of classified and unclassified information, and to allow real-time working collaboration between state and local and federal law enforcement officials," Chertoff said.

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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