Forwarded from: William Knowles <wkat_private> http://www.computerworld.com/databasetopics/data/story/0,10801,72930,00.html By MICHAEL MEEHAN JULY 23, 2002 Steven Cooper, the new CIO of the White House Office of Homeland Security, spoke this week with Computerworld about the challenges he faces as he works to pull together information and resources from disparate federal agencies for the fight against terrorism. Cooper, a former CIO at Corning Inc. in Corning, N.Y., joined the Bush administration in March. Q: What are the first projects you're going to be tackling? A: We're starting on two parallel tracks. Our job is national in scope. It's not just federal. As a result, while the initial work will focus on the federal agencies that will comprise the Department of Homeland Security, what we really need to do is look at all the end-to-end business processes of homeland security as they also interact with state and local governments, private sector and citizens. Q: Is adopting metadata standards a key to that? A: That's part of it. That's how we have to ensure that linkage to things outside the federal government. There's a huge difference between these wonderful proclamations we make about XML now being the latest generation's silver bullet. But come on, let's get real guys; this industry has been trying to pull this thing together for 40 years, and we still haven't gotten it right. And it isn't about the ability to technically connect stuff; that's simple. I can hook networks together. I can hook applications together. I can hook databases together. What about the exchange of information in a meaningful manner? Now we're talking about something completely different. So one of the things that we have to figure out is a way to drive -- not because we're going to get it right first shot out of the box -- a dialogue across a broad community at large where we can very quickly begin to figure out where we have agreement and where we don't. Let's leverage where we have agreement. And I am talking about metadata standards, and I am talking about the meaningful content of the information we need to integrate. Where we don't, let's figure out a way to either engage the right standards organizations. Although they tend to do good work, it takes a little bit of time. Or can we create some intergovermental/industry working groups? Not because anyone's going to issue a federal mandate or make it a law, but because we think these are ways people can collaborate and work together. Q: Of course, XML standardization work has been a slow, tortuous process. Can you afford to be that patient? A: What I would like to see is we could get the right folks together and reach some type of consensus that's basically a win-win for everybody involved. That's the ideal. Now, if that doesn't work in a time frame where we need to accomplish some things, I do think we may [have] to move to: If you're going to interact with the federal government, then here is the format, here are the XML tags, here is how you send it to us. Then yes, it is going to become a little less flexible. We're talking about homeland security. We're fighting a war. We're talking about protecting lives and property. There is an urgency around this. So, getting the balance right, we will probably err on the side of: If we think it's taking too long, we're going to move forward. And that may upset some people, but hopefully it will be a small subset. Q: And we're talking XML here, not electronic data interchange (EDI)? A: I think we're talking primarily XML because that's where we have the least investment thus far, therefore the highest probability of not messing up legacy stuff where people have sunk a lot of money. Could we use EDI in communication of information that's already well established? Yes. I'm not sure I'd call it leading edge or bleeding edge, but it works. Q: What will be the role of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO)? A: It is tasked with the primary responsibility of critical-infrastructure protection. As such, it is, we believe, an excellent place to house the information integration program office. I, being in the White House Office of Homeland Security, really act in an advisory role, not an operation role. CIAO director John Tritek acts in an operation role. I provide strategic guidance and basically help establish the key objectives, performance measures, critical success factors, those types of things. John will have the primary responsibility for ensuring that the office is in fact operating to the objectives and goals that we have jointly established. *==============================================================* "Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC ================================================================ C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org *==============================================================* - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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