Integration of ideas, security measures and communication in DHS
| 06.27.2006 | 08:00:12 | Views: 2546 | ID:
June 27 '06: Government Computer News continues its special reporting on current goings-on in the Department of Homeland Security this week. GCN released a series of articles last week which covered a large range of security, policy and technological issues, challenges and programs which included efforts at technology management and agency performance; the role of the Secret Service in money laundering cases; border security issues; biometrics and better screening practices; improving the state of FEMA; and port security. This week, the stories cover IT issues; the SBInet's development; biometrics and RFID; and other interoperable and cross-agency agendas.
Among some of the recent developments in the department was the creation of a global access directory that would allow DHS employees and officials to send emails to targeted agencies. "Now, secretary Michael Chertoff can send an all-department e-mail with a few selected addresses instead of sending it to each component agency and ordering it to cascade through those organizations," GCN reported.The creation of the global access directory, officials say, will help push inter-department communication. That communication is important especially when the department and its underling agencies begin to consider outside contracting services. Under new guidelines, contracts being awarded for any outside business will go through a more streamlined process officials said. In addition to human communication, DHS programs along the nation's borders will rely heavily on communication between agencies through the Secure Border Initiative-Net. Senior fellow Jim Lewis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC told GCN, "Having all the data collected by the sensors isn't that good unless you can process it and pass it along to the operators in real time," in an internet-style system. Other programs that use RFID and biometrics might one day "give border patrol officers a complete picture of visitors as they enter and exit the country, and ensure that they actually leave when they are supposed to." Under SBInet, 200 cameras being used along the border to relay information back to Border Patrol officials would be integrated. Currently, the system "is inconsistent at best and gives agents no analytical information to determine threats." That would mean, Homeland Security officials told GCN, that the new system would incorporate real-time information sharing to help with law enforcement measures. And Coast Guard officials are working to increase radio frequency identification's abilities in the nation's ports through the RapidGate program. The RapidGate system works by allowing "easier access to the (Coast Guard) facility by voluntarily registering for a biometric identification card." Officials have said so far "three potential ... employees [were discovered] who had served time for murder, one registered sex offender, two working under false names and others with multiple identities or who had lied about their criminal history."
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