DHS analysis chief speaks about plans

The Homeland Security Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate faces several obstacles that have delayed its attempts to hire staff and conduct an inventory of the nation's key assets and infrastructure, a department official told lawmakers today.

The IAIP is still hiring staff because most of its analysts need a top-secret security clearance, a process that can take up to 18 months, said retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank Libutti, the DHS undersecretary of information analysis and infrastructure protection.

Libutti testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Currently, the directorate has 111 analysts, and 70 more who have been vetted for hiring. He plans to hire 40 more analysts each month, many of whom will replace employees who have worked for DHS on detail from other agencies, including the National Security Agency, and 600 contractors.

Among its tasks, Libutti said the directorate is conducting risk analysis of 1,700 major infrastructure sites over the coming year. These sites will be ranked according to their risk from terrorist threats.

State and local homeland security officers contribute analysis of what is critical in their region, such as federally owned dams or private chemical plants. DHS shares responsibility for protecting these sites with state agencies and the private sector.

Data from the inventory of assets, assessment of vulnerabilities and national threat ranking will be entered into integrated databases. The president's fiscal 2005 budget earmarks $71 million for these undertakings.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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