DHS tactical network begins nationwide use

The Homeland Security Department's new tactical response network will 'receive and share tactical information, and quickly piece together the puzzle and see if an incident poses a threat,' DHS secretary Tom Ridge says.

The department just took the wraps off the Homeland Security Information Network, an upgraded version of the Joint Regional Information Exchange System pilot that it developed with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The network will be used to transmit information'including secret data'to 50 states, the five U.S. territories, tribal governments and major cities.

At first, the network will transmit information at law enforcement's sensitive level of classification, said Tom Marenic, HSIN project manager in the Information Assurance and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. Later this year, DHS will upgrade the system so it can handle secret information.

As DHS improves the network, 'it will be able to send photos, maps and streaming video, as well as access data about critical infrastructures,' Ridge said. Eventually, HSIN will link wirelessly to notebook PCs that first responders can use at crime and disaster scenes, he said.

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