A Case for Open Standards: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has called for the use of open standards and IT interoperability in the fight against terrorism and the development of a successful homeland security strategy and future information systems.
The sharing of location-based informationsuch as data on people, assets, and facilitiesacross departments, agencies, and jurisdictions is vital for rapid response and accurate reaction to crisis situations. For instance, many organizations need immediate access to critical information: where the emergency is occurring, what structures or people are involved, what buildings or open spaces can be used for staging emergency responses, and how best to move emergency responders to the site quickly and safely. Yet this information undoubtedly resides with different agencies and departments and in various data and vendor formats. Based on this situation, the DHS has called for the development of information-integration architectures that will allow for easy sharing of homeland security information with state, local, and private organizations. The adoption of open standards will help to provide this information.
The Department of Homeland Security consists of 22 government agencies that have a critical need to share more information with the people who need it, including intelligence and law enforcement, state and local partners, international governments, and the private sector. A call to use open standards in information systems makes perfect sense.