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Cheney and Ridge at HSOC

(Washington D.C.) July 8, 2004 ? Today, the Department of Homeland Security stood up a new state-of-the-art Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) 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 counter measure guidance.

?This Administration is committed to information sharing, it is essential to keeping our nation safe and secure,? said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. ?The Homeland Security Operations Center synthesizes vital threat related information and strengthens coordination and communication among numerous agencies and homeland security partners.?

As a single point of information integration, the HSOC maintains daily situational awareness on the security of our homeland 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 38 major urban areas through the Homeland Security Information Network. The HSIN system was launched on February 25 of this year with all states receiving connectivity, ahead of schedule, by July 2004.

As part of the initial National Response Plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating Federal operations within the United States to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. The HSOC serves as a valuable conduit providing ongoing situational awareness to the Secretary as well as the White House.

Accommodating more than 35 agency representatives ranging from law enforcement organizations to federal departments, the HSOC serves as a clearinghouse for vital information to determine possibilities of risk or terrorist nexus and shares that information with appropriate officials to strengthen and coordinate security operations where necessary. The HSOC also utilizes mapping and graphical aids to help translate information and determine if additional protective measures are necessary.