Plans emerging for national security data sharing

Wednesday, 21 August 2002, 3:01 AM EST

They may not be the Continental Congress, but hundreds of IT experts from the defense and intelligence communities gathered here yesterday to share ideas and plans on emergency responses to a terrorist attack on the nation.

Only blocks from the spot where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, more than 900 government and private-sector officials met to discuss efforts to improve collaboration and information sharing among the hundreds of federal, state and local agencies in charge of emergency response in the event of future terrorist attacks.

On the first day of the three-day Information Sharing and Homeland Security conference, officials have been clear on what the overall strategy is for detecting and preventing future attacks: Create a nationwide information-sharing architecture by leveraging the billions of dollars in federal IT investments, rather than building something from scratch.

"We're trying to use the existing capabilities of the [intelligence] community," said Bill Dawson, a deputy intelligence community CIO for the office that advises the director of central intelligence on IT policy.

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