The Homeland Security Department wants to upgrade its Common Operating Picture (COP), the situational awareness tool used at the department’s National Operations Center (NOC), and make it more accessible to state and local authorities, a senior department official has said.
DHS’ activated the COP in May 2006 and currently uses it as a situational awareness tool for strategic, operational and tactical purposes at the NOC. The department now plans to spend millions to upgrade it, refresh technology and eventually to build a new version of the COP that would allow for improved visualization and increased users.
Harry McDavid, chief information officer of DHS’ Office of Operations, Coordination and Planning, said in a recent interview that when DHS originally developed the COP, the urgency brought by the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina didn’t allow for much advanced planning and officials made use of existing technology. However, McDavid said officials overseeing COP have since planned how to develop its capabilities and have worked with other DHS agencies on topics such as geospatial information, Service Oriented Architecture and federated search engines.