Homeland Security is on track, Cisco chief says

Cisco Systems Inc. president John Chambers said this week that the Homeland Security Department is well on its way to merging the infrastructures of its 22 component agencies.

'They truly get it,' said John Chambers, president and chief executive officer of the San Jose, Calif., networking vendor, speaking at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's homeland security conference.

But Chambers said the relocated employees ought to be told the reasons and methods for breaking down the informational and architectural stovepipes to which they're accustomed.

'They may get more of a common architecture than, perhaps, the groups originally wanted,' he said, 'but the agency leaders actually understand the challenge.'

He said the separate agencies and bureaus need help from networking, telecommunications and software companies to iron out the wrinkles in the merger. The president's National Infrastructure Advisory Council, of which Chambers is a member, could remove roadblocks to transforming HSD's architecture end to end, he said.

That transformation'and securing the networks as they evolve against intensifying threats and attacks'could take as long as a decade, he said.

'It's not a technology problem,' Chambers said. 'The technology is already there to do quite a bit of what needs to be done. No one organization can do this by itself.'

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