to be doing what rather than what's getting done," Jones said. "And this is going to go on for quite a period of time."

In combining organizations that traditionally have had some jurisdiction over security, there are bound to be hurt feelings.

"There are so many agencies, departments, offices, congressional committees that have some responsibility over security, and they get people and they get money," Sander said. "To bring all of that together in one place means there are a lot of people who are going to see themselves as having lost something."

To be successful, the office will need more input from local officials, said Bob Andrews, president of the International Association of Emergency Managers. "So much of it is federal input and a smattering of state input and, of course, terrorism in the final analysis is a local affair. They've got to do better at reaching out to local governments and local public safety."

Several sources said communication between the feds and the states has improved since Sept. 11.

"The Office of Homeland Security has been very good with our representative, George Vinson," said California's Jones.

But others said the progress isn't happening fast enough.

"The coordination process is the single most important consideration in terms of what we've yet to accomplish under the homeland security initiatives," Andrews said. "We're working hard, along with others, to try and persuade the federal government to give more attention to the coordination process than they have been."

That effort should emphasize that because emergency response is a coordinated effort among different agencies, training and funding allocation should be seen as a collaborative effort between disciplines. Andrews sees promise in the idea of a Department of Homeland Security, "Because the intent there is to improve communications."

A federal source said that has happened to a great extent already. "We are actually at an unprecedented level of coordination and information sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement," said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the Department of Justice. "In changing our focus from prosecution to prevention, we turned 180 degrees in the way we look at our role and the way we function at the federal law enforcement level. It's only been 10 months. These things don't happen over night."

Everyone agrees that the process of defending against terrorist attacks will be a constantly evolving process with no end in sight. It will mean educating politicians and senior executives in government who must change their mindset to one that views security as part of business continuity planning.

The key to that effort is putting in place an emergency operation that takes into consideration the significant dependence on information infrastructure and that business and security need to be forever linked.

Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor  |  Justice and Public Safety Editor