Thank you, John. Good morning. I'm so pleased to be part of this first-ever joint conference of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

I'm especially honored to follow Attorney General Ashcroft. His presence here, along with that of Secretary Ridge later this morning, demonstrates the strong commitment of both these men to the critical work of first responders. They have shown time and again, not only through their eloquent words, but also through their passionate actions, that they stand firmly with those who are called to help in times of crisis. We are grateful for their leadership and support.

I want to thank Sarah Hart and her staff at the National Institute of Justice, as well as the staff at the Department of Homeland Security, for their outstanding work in putting together this conference. The topics here run the gamut, from cyber security to equipment standards to federal funding. I'm confident that you'll leave here Wednesday far better informed, and better equipped, to deal with threats to public safety.

We are fortunate these days to have at our disposal an incredible arsenal of tools to meet those threats. Technology has enabled us to make more inroads into the territory of crime prevention than ever before. Thanks to sophisticated detection and surveillance equipment and techniques, we are in a good position to identify the perpetrators of violence before they have a chance to act.

Our challenge now is to make sure that those resources work in concert, and this means the full and rapid exchange of intelligence among the agencies responsible for protecting our communities.

Two-and-a-half years ago—in March of 2002—the International Association of Chiefs of Police held a summit on criminal intelligence sharing, supported by the Department of Justice. In response to the recommendations of the summit's participants, we at the Department, working with our state, local, and tribal partners in the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, established the Global Intelligence Working Group.

The overall Global Initiative is a consortium of 32 local, state, tribal, federal, and international justice organizations. Its purpose is to overcome the barriers to justice information sharing across agencies, disciplines, and all levels of government, while preserving legitimate privacy and security concerns.

Global is a Federal Advisory Committee that advises the Attorney General on information sharing policy. While its existence predated the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, representatives of DHS now work closely with Global as well.

Over the last two years, the Global Intelligence Working Group has met to examine the issues involved in justice information systems integration and to provide guidance on how federal, state, and local jurisdictions can securely and effectively share criminal intelligence. In 2003, it finalized and released the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan.

The Plan is the first of its kind. It offers a wealth of information that every law enforcement agency in the country can use to improve the development and sharing of criminal intelligence. Indeed, it is a roadmap for transforming the way the nation shares criminal intelligence.

The Plan is a guide to agencies for establishing intelligence sharing policies and procedures, and for developing technologies and training to put those practices into place effectively. It sets forth standards for sharing data and addressing security and privacy issues. It provides a blueprint for policy administrators. It offers guidance for designing systems to share sensitive-but-unclassified information. In short, it provides a framework for achieving our goal of strategic, intelligence-driven policing, as called for at the 2002 IACP Summit.

Both Attorney General Ashcroft and Secretary Ridge have endorsed this landmark document, and we have moved quickly to implement it. For example, we've begun an effort to coordinate training curricula and standards for intelligence analysts serving law enforcement agencies. In this way, we are helping to ensure that law enforcement professionals are provided the most complete and accurate information possible.

A Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council has been formed, comprising representatives of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The Council has already assumed a prominent role in advising the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security on the most appropriate ways to share sensitive but unclassified, homeland security-related information.

This group has also weighed in, with both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of the federal government, as the voice for state, local, and tribal law enforcement in relation to the development of the National Intelligence Directorate recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

You will hear during the upcoming panel discussion about the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program, an effort within the Department of Justice to support the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan by developing a uniform method for federal law enforcement agencies to share information, as liberally as possible, with state, local, and tribal law enforcement.

You will hear about ARJIS, a cutting-edge regional information sharing system in the San Diego area, demonstrating the potential of these systems to revolutionize law enforcement—and enabling us, through information sharing, to be proactive rather than merely reactive—an absolute must in the post-9/11 era.

And you will be introduced to the Homeland Security Information Network, being developed by the Department of Homeland Security to distribute information among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, as well as other first responders.

Another aspect of the Global Information Sharing Initiative is an effort to develop a standards-based approach to an integrated justice information system. The goal of such a system is to allow information to be shared at critical junctures in the criminal justice system pipeline, from law enforcement and prosecution to courts and corrections. A major component of this effort is the development of the Global Justice XML Data Model.

XML, short for Extensible Markup Language, acts as a universal translator among information systems and allows disparate systems to share data without compromising the data's integrity. The XML standard allows a search for data across systems by using "tags" to pull out and categorize various types of information, making normally incompatible data systems interoperable. It creates, in essence, a universal language.

XML is revolutionizing our ability to share information among justice agencies. Currently, more than 50 justice information sharing projects are underway using the XML Data Model; and their ability to pull information from disparate systems and share it promptly is helping law enforcement to identify and apprehend perpetrators before they can victimize again.

And jurisdictions that have implemented the Global Justice XML Data Model are reporting substantial cost savings. Minnesota's Department of Public Safety has saved more than a million dollars over three years by using the Model rather than developing its own statewide standard.

XML is doing what the public expects government to do—it is making wise use of resources to provide better public service. And that service, in this case, requires nothing less vital than the protection of our citizens from those who would harm or kill us, just because of who we are.

The data model and dictionary are winning recognition and acclaim, particularly by our friends in the IT industry. In May, they received the American Council for Technology's 2004 Intergovernmental Solutions Award, a testament to their success in delivering value and results.

In other action, we have augmented RISS, the Regional Information Sharing Systems, by linking their criminal intelligence databases to the FBI's Law Enforcement Online, or LEO, system. LEO connects local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and provides a conduit for the distribution of sensitive but unclassified homeland security information. The linkage improved our collective ability to convey critical information among law enforcement agencies, as well as other first responders, promptly, broadly, and through a secure Internet connection.

But we must do more.

In a later session during this conference, you will hear about our work, in partnership with DHS, to develop standards for interoperable voice, data, image, and video communication systems that can be adopted by industry. These solutions will address the kinds of problems experienced at Columbine, in Oklahoma City, and on 9/11, when precious moments and opportunities were lost because responders' radios were incompatible.

And we are working with our counterparts at DHS to ensure that first responders can easily access what is currently a complex maze of information sharing systems. We all understand that we need to interlink, as a single backbone for information sharing, HSIN, RISS/LEO, JRIES (Joint Regional Information Exchange System), and other systems, to reduce confusion and increase speedy access to information.

In this age of advanced technology, there is no excuse for this kind of critical failure. Every day, America tracks billions of transactions throughout the world that move money from one bank to the next. Every night, express shipping companies track thousands of packages and are able to tell where a shipment is at any given moment. We should be able to provide law enforcement officers with the tools to track criminals from one jurisdiction to the next.

We at the Office of Justice Programs are committed to the smooth, rapid, and cost effective exchange of information and intelligence among law enforcement agencies. And we rely on those of you in law enforcement and first response to guide us in our efforts.

Our goal is to put the best minds and the most promising solutions to work in winning the war against crime and terror. That is what the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative—and our work in OJP—is all about.

Thank you for your attendance, and your attentiveness, at this conference, vital to the security of our nation—and for the work each of you is doing, every day, to ensure that security.