Governors: Only half of states use DHS info-sharing networks

Only 52 percent of the states' homeland security directors regularly participated in information-sharing networks run by the Homeland Security Department in 2007, according to a new survey.

The other 48 percent said they had little participation in the Homeland Security Information Network, the DHS alert system and the Disaster Management Information System, according to a report published by the National Governors Association Dec. 18. The annual survey queries state homeland security directors, who are typically appointed by governors.

States were generally critical of DHS' information-sharing initiatives in 2007, according to the report. The department's inspector general has noted the low participation in HSIN and other networks and criticized the lack of input from state and local officials in their design.

On the other hand, state officials reported higher levels of satisfaction with federal participation in the states' intelligence fusion centers.

More than half -- 56 percent -- said they were satisfied with the timeliness of the intelligence they are receiving, 47 percent said they were satisfied with the specificity of the intelligence, and 50 percent said they were satisfied that the intelligence was detailed enough to be acted on, according to the report.

However, two-thirds of the state directors said they would be unable to continue funding the fusion centers without federal aid. Furthermore, under current DHS rules, states can only use federal grants to pay intelligence analysts' salaries for two years. Therefore, states must replace and retrain their analysts every two years, the report said.

The survey also covered topics such as the status of state governments' homeland security structures, state and local coordination, and critical infrastructure protection.

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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