Ridge: Homeland security is no Y2K rollover

Ridge: Homeland security is no Y2K rollover

Tom Ridge said he is taking on homeland security the way the government took on the year 2000 systems preparations. The only difference: This task won't end when the next new year begins, the director of homeland security said.

Ridge was the keynote speaker at a Council for Excellence lunch in Washington last week where he explained how technology must be used to help keep the nation secure.

'We must define the mission first and build the technology around it,' he said. 'Once we do that, we are using technology to achieve our goals.'

Ridge highlighted three uses of IT that would make the nation safer:

  • Satellite cell phones used for disaster preparedness at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City

  • A health network for reporting real-time outbreak information to public health officials

  • The visa entry-exit system.

  • Ultimately, government must change its systems infrastructure so information can be shared effortlessly, he said. 'We need to become an electronic government at every level. Investing in technology to share information and communicate better and easier is the goal of these initiatives.'

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