Data-sharing projects begin to gel

As agencies sort out the homeland security and defense tasks they must perform, two integration centers are making progress sharing counterterrorism information among many organizations.

Addressing a major weakness in the nation's antiterrorism defense, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and the Pentagon's Northern Command are serving as clearinghouses for information on homeland security and defense.

Homeland defense and homeland security are distinct but complementary approaches to fighting terrorism.

Speaking at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Homeland Security conference held recently in Washington, Peter Verga, a principal assistant secretary of Defense, characterized homeland defense as the 'away game,' largely conducted overseas, of protecting the country, while homeland security operations are domestic.

TTIC and NorthCom systems merge data from dozens of sources. The interagency system, known as TTIC Online, operates at the top-secret level, though efforts are under way to create secret and sensitive but unclassified versions of its information, said William F. Spalding, the center's CIO.

'Right now, TTIC Online is basically a one-stop shop for threat information,' he said.

'Right now, TTIC Online is basically a one-stop shop for threat information,' he said.

TTIC Online presents its information in a geospatial format. 'The FBI and the Air Force are posting on this Web site,' Spalding said, noting that the center's analysts depend on information from multiple agencies.

NorthCom has created a Common Operational Picture system that merges data from more than 25 sources, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, the director of command and control systems at the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and director of architectures and integration for NorthCom.

COP provides a Web portal, chat structure, collaboration tool suite and links to commercial systems behind it, Meyerrose said.

'The methodology and philosophy [of COP] is the same we are trying to employ at TTIC,' Spalding said.

The FBI also has been honing its domestic intelligence capabilities in recent months, according to Robert Casey, chief of the Intelligence Operations Section of the FBI's Intelligence Program.

'One of the biggest successes has been a requirements-driven approach to intelligence,' he said.

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