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Michael Martinez

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Lawmakers urge government, industry to partner on emergency communications

March 15, 2006 Two key lawmakers on Wednesday said government agencies need to establish partnerships with the private sector in order ensure that critical communications infrastructure is reliable and available during emergency situations. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, said private entities responded faster and more effectively to...

IT management approach at VA sparks conflict

March 2, 2006 House lawmakers and Veterans Affairs Department officials sparred Thursday over the department's information technology budget for fiscal 2007. President Bush is seeking $1.26 billion for IT operations at the department next year. That would cover non-payroll costs associated with IT projects in various areas, including health care and cyber security....

Report: Plan for border surveillance system posed too many risks

February 23, 2006 The Homeland Security Department was correct to re-evaluate a comprehensive border surveillance program, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The GAO report, released Thursday, found that the department would have assumed unacceptable risks had it not decided to review the America's Shield Initiative, a program to install a...

First responders detail emergency communications problems

February 15, 2006 House lawmakers and emergency responders on Wednesday agreed that more needs to be done to establish emergency communications systems that function across jurisdictions. A lack of equipment standards, inadequate funding and turf wars among federal, state and local officials have made it increasingly to difficult to achieve interoperable emergency communications,...

Senators decry slow progress on passenger screening projects

February 9, 2006 Senate lawmakers on Thursday vented their frustration about the implementation of two contentious security initiatives to pre-screen airline passengers and move frequent fliers through airport checkpoints more quickly. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on transportation security, lawmakers said they are not satisfied with the slow development of the programs,...

FCC panel convenes Katrina communications probe

January 30, 2006 The Federal Communications Commission on Monday opened an independent panel investigation into the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the nation's communications systems. The panel, which includes members from private and public organizations, has been charged with providing the agency with a list of recommendations by June 15 on how to...

DHS chief eyes ID cards with biometric data

January 18, 2006 Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff said today he intends to spend money to develop technology that will allow identification cards to serve several purposes, but stopped short of advocating a national identification card. Chertoff told reporters at a media briefing hosted by the King Publishing Group that he believes it is...

Chertoff touts risk management approach

December 20, 2005 Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday that changes in aviation security rules are a result of emphasizing risk management. In a speech at George Washington University, Chertoff said the Transportation Security Administration is adjusting its focus to target explosive devices. He pointed to TSA's decision to stop the confiscation...

Traditional communications systems reliable in disasters, panelists say

December 12, 2005 Traditional modes of communication continue to serve as reliable, near-term solutions during emergencies, a panel of industry experts said Monday. Emergency responders are still served well by technologies they know, despite the development of technologies such as Internet telephony and satellite-based voice service, the experts said at the National Conference...

Lawmakers note drawbacks of 'registered traveler' system

June 9, 2005 Lawmakers on a House Homeland Security subcommittee expressed dissatisfaction Thursday with the early results of an experimental program designed to accelerate airport security lines for passengers who have undergone background checks and biometric screenings. The Registered Traveler program has been being tested since last year in Boston, Houston, Los Angeles,...

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