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Richard Spires: DHS Agents Switching from Radios to Smartphones in 5 Years

Richard Spires: DHS Agents Switching from Radios to Smartphones in 5 Years - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Richard Spires

The Department of Homeland Security plans to shift towards using mobile devices that can stream on-demand videos and conduct biometric identity verification checks, Federal Computer Week reports. 

DHS Chief Information Officer Richard Spires discussed the department’s mobility and information sharing plans in addition to a new joint program office at the AFCEA-Bethesda Law Enforcement Information Technology Day conference Wednesday. 

Spires said the office will be used to plan out law enforcement agents’ shift from using tactical radios to smartphones in the next five years.

He said the agency wants to transition from land mobile radios to 4G LTE technologies. 

Spires identified using real-time video as a compelling motivator behind the agency’s plan to shift its technology tools. 

Mobile devices could also provide agents the ability to conduct identification checks and Customs and Border Protection agents have been asking for that capability, Spires said. 

The new joint program office will work with industry to see what commercially-available technology there is that leverages these capabilities.

Spires said the agency will also conduct industry competitions in order to encourage development of such technologies. 

DHS will use radios for the time being and recently awarded a five-year, $3 billion contract to 30 vendors to purchase tactical radios. 

DHS is implementing the national interagency national information exchange model, through which it will exchange data with 16 agencies, including the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

The agencies will be able to access state databases for license plat holders and be able to search stolen plates nationwide, Spires said.

Spires notes NIEM has been useful, but has received no funding from Congress as of yet. Spires said he will continue to push for funding for the program. 

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