Oct. 1, 2004

DHS awards Northrop Grumman HR management system contract

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington chose experts at Northrop Grumman Information Technology in Herndon, Va., to install and maintain a new human resources management system, known as MAXHR. Under the terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman IT will provide overall integration and program management for the new system; in-depth functional expertise for pay, performance, classification, labor relations, adverse actions, and appeals; communications, training, and organizational-change management; and will install an enterprisewide information technology system in line with President Bush's E-Government initiative. Northrop Grumman team members include Watson Wyatt Worldwide in Washington; Gene Rouleau & Associates in Silver Spring, Md.; BearingPoint in McLean, Va.; Catapult Technology Ltd. in Bethesda, Md.; Spectrum Solutions Group in Vienna, Va.; and STG International Inc. in Alexandria, Va.

Smiths Detection provides explosives trace-detection equipment for TSA

Engineers at Smiths Detection in Pine Brook, N.J., are providing Ionscan 400B explosives trace-detection systems to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Washington. The TSA issued $5.6 million in add-on orders for the systems. The equipment will be used to screen for explosives at checkpoints and for checked baggage inspection. The Ionscan 400B can detect trace amounts of more than 40 explosives or narcotic substances in less than 10 seconds. More than 6,500 Ionscans are already deployed at airports throughout the world, including approximately 4,000 across the U.S., supplied under the TSA program to enhance aviation security. Smiths Detection North America, based in New Jersey, is part of Smiths Detection, which is one of four operating divisions of Smiths Group plc. Smiths Detection offers solutions to detect and identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, weapons, and contraband. For more information visit

New DHS operations center serves as primary hub for information sharing and domestic incident manage

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials announced last month that the new Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) is operational and ready to serve as the primary, national-level nerve center for real-time threat monitoring, domestic-incident management, and vertical and horizontal information sharing efforts. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the HSOC provides situational awareness and monitoring of the homeland, coordinates incidents and response activities, and issues advisories and bulletins to homeland-security partners, as well as specific protective and countermeasure guidance. As a single point of information integration, the HSOC maintains daily situational awareness on homeland security and coordinates activities with other departments and agencies. Today, the HSOC is operational in an expanded watch floor with updated and integrated technology. The cornerstone of the HSOC is its ability to share threat information and provide real-time interactive connectivity with governors, homeland -security advisors, law-enforcement partners, and critical infrastructure operators in all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas. The HSIN system was launched on Feb. 25 with all states receiving connectivity by July 2004. The HSOC serves as a valuable conduit providing ongoing situational awareness to the DHS Secretary as well as the White House. The HSOC also utilizes mapping and graphical aids to help translate information and determine whether additional protective measures are necessary, DHS officials say.

Virtual Alert to provide Oregon with bioterrorism preparedness services

Experts at Virtual Alert Inc., in Sacramento, Calif., will help the Oregon Department of Human Services prepare for bioterrorism attacks by developing bioterrorism readiness alerting, collaboration, and communications capabilities via a dedicated Internet portal. Virtual Alert will develop and host the portal, and will enable designated users from the Oregon Department of Human Services to access important department-related news, documents, discussions, announcements, links, and contact information. Virtual Alert's technology is based on industry-standard component technologies, designed to serve as a foundation for the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) post-9/11 vision of an integrated Public Health Information Network (PHIN), which demands the ability for all public health officials across a jurisdiction to communicate in the event of a public health emergency or bioterrorist event. Virtual Alert's BioTerrorism Readiness Suite (BTRS) meets all PHIN guidelines and supports the CDC's Health Alert Network (HAN), a platform supporting the issuance of alerts across state and local public health departments and relevant government officials. "Working with Virtual Alert will allow us to have seamless, efficient communications with public health departments throughout the state," says Michael McGuire, public health preparedness manager in the Oregon Dept. of Human Services.

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