Homeland CIO says architecture plan to be ready by September

'If we have a map by September, we'll be able to say, 'Here is the road map, where are the gaps?' '

'HSD CIO Stephen Cooper

The Homeland Security Department expects to craft most of an enterprise architecture for the nation's response to terrorism by Sept. 1, department CIO Stephen Cooper said last week.

Speaking at a conference presented by Potomac Forum Ltd. and Federal Sources Inc., Cooper said the department has teams working on blueprints in four areas:
  • Border and transportation security

  • Emergency preparedness and response

  • Weapons of mass destruction, under the oversight of the Science and Technology Directorate
  • Information analysis and infrastructure protection.

Cooper said he has challenged senior officials to set a business strategy for the new department by March 1. The business strategy would be one level down in detail from the president's National Strategy for Homeland Security, he said.

By June, Cooper said, he wants to document the current state of IT in the department's various components. About 40 percent of the information needed for the June milestone is already gathered'some provided by the Office of Management and Budget.

By August, the department will describe its desired enterprise architecture. That will be the most difficult milestone, Cooper added, because 'it doesn't exist and depends on people to create what they want to see. By September, we want the first release of a road map.'

Gap in the map

The first version of the enterprise architecture might only reach an 80 percent level, he cautioned. 'If we have a map by September, we'll be able to say, 'Here is the road map, where are the gaps?' '

The IT blueprint is particularly challenging because it must integrate state and local homeland security issues, Cooper said, adding that such a task has never before been attempted.

A team is already designing the Terrorism Threat Integration Center described in the president's State of the Union address, he said, and HSD will incorporate that work into its enterprise architecture.

But HSD will not delay important IT integration tasks while it builds an architecture, he said. For example, the department recently helped link the FBI's Law Enforcement Online system with another network called the Regional Information Sharing System. Soon those networks will tie into the Defense Department's Open Source Information System for intelligence, he said.

'We have not been sitting still,' Cooper said. 'We are within a few weeks of being able to push' federal antiterror information to state and local law enforcement officers. 'Some [projects] you'll read about, and some you won't.'

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