HSD starts life with soundbites

The Homeland Security Department came to life today with a White House swearing-in ceremony for secretary Tom Ridge and announcements about the information systems backbone.

President Bush said he has magnified Ridge's powers with an executive order that amends 18 existing executive orders. The HSD secretary, for example, is designated a senior intelligence official along with counterparts from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and other organizations.

At a press conference shortly after he took office, Ridge spoke about information sharing. "We will look at all our internal needs,' he said. 'We will generate a lot of information ourselves'from Customs, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. We need to communicate as effectively as technology allows."

The Homeland Security transition team has planned and implemented an information architecture for Internet and intranet services, and has set policies and procedures for IT security, IT capital planning, information quality, Web management and national wireless management. The transition team also has acquired new hardware, software and networks, officials said.

The new department's online portal, www.dhs.gov, went live at midnight last night, they said. (Click here for GCN's story) Today headquarters employees began using the dhs.gov e-mail domain and intranet. After March 1, the intranet will become available to employees outside headquarters staff. HSD also has launched a weekly electronic newsletter for employees, called DHS Transition Update.

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