Thursday, May 27, 2010

Private Sector Resources Catalog

Lately I have been taking DHS to task for a variety of weaknesses in their ‘Open Government’ efforts so it is only appropriate that I say something positive about their latest effort in this area. Yesterday, after almost two weeks of silence, the DHS Blog had a post about the recent publication of their Private Sector Resources Catalog. The blog describes it this way:
“The catalog provides information, contact numbers and email addresses, and websites for almost every program, office, and component within DHS.”
The table of contents (which provides a click-able link to the chapters, a real valuable tool) provides a quick look at the available information. Of potential interest to the chemical security community are chapters on Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C), Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP), Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Each chapter provides a fairly comprehensive list of programs with points of contact (POC) and/or web pages where further information can be found. Many of the programs listed are hard to find on the Internet without this guide. Other programs are briefly mentioned on the Internet, but no POC information has been made available for more information. So this is a valuable guide, though I don’t recommend printing it out; the real value lies in the link and it is easier to use them in a computer file than from a printed document. The web page for this document promises that “this catalog will be updated regularly to publicize new resources and increase private sector awareness”. Unfortunately, the page does not include a link that would enable someone to be notified when the catalog is updated. The page does include a ‘last reviewed’ date so it will be a fairly simple matter to click through to see when the catalog is revised, but it would be simpler if DHS would add this to their list of pages for which they provide notification of changes service. If DHS provides regular updates of the information (and some parts of DHS have better histories of updating information than others) available and provides links to that information in future updated versions of this guide, they will have gone a long way in redeeming their ‘Open Government’ operations in my eyes. This is a valuable document which will become even more valuable if it is kept updated at regular intervals.

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