Homeland Security Department to reshape Project Safecom

The Homeland Security Department is reconstituting Project Safecom, one of the Office of Management and Budget's 25 e-government initiatives, and moving it under the Science and Technology directorate in the agency.

Steve Cooper, HSD CIO, today said the problem with the project, which would connect wireless first responder systems across federal, state and local agencies, is an engineering one. Cooper gave the keynote address this afternoon at the FOSE 2003 conference in Washington.

'We are coming at this in a very different way than I think Safecom has been viewed in the past,' Cooper said. 'We listened to the constituency that we were supposed to be serving-the state and local governments and first responders. We will come at this as a systems engineering challenge.'

This will be the third managing partner change for the project, which started in Treasury, then in October was moved to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Cooper also said there will be a new project manager as Susan Moore, who was detailed from the Agriculture Department, will return to her agency.

'If you look backwards, we have spent a fair amount of money and I don't know if we got a lot to show for it,' he said. 'Continuing things the same way we have been doing it doesn't make a lot of sense.'

Cooper added the Science and Technology directorate was the logical choice because its job is to manage early stages of projects. When the project moves into the mainstream, Cooper said, HSD's IT office will take over the operation and maintenance.

The program office will be set up in the next week or so and Cooper said his office will work with the Science and Technology office to help reshape the program.

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