DHS debuts command center

Secretary Tom Ridge and Vice President Dick Cheney

Shaun Heasely/Reuters

The Homeland Security Department this month took the wraps off an upgraded command center at its Washington headquarters.

The new Homeland Security Operations Center houses dozens of officials from more than 35 federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It is also home to a reinforced array of communications and control technology, including 16 flat 50-inch screens that can display detailed geographic data and other information. DHS said the center handles about 22 incidents daily.

The center has an intelligence side and a law enforcement side, the department said in a fact sheet. The intelligence side focuses on highly classified information while the law enforcement side tracks police activities nationwide that might have a terrorist nexus.

Secretary Tom Ridge touted the rollout of the Homeland Security Information Network, saying it provides links to all 50 states and more than 50 cities. 'This new ability to receive and distribute critical information allows us to make better decisions, more quickly, and take action that will deter, detect and defuse terrorist attacks,' Ridge said.

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