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CIO: FEMA To Pare Down Staff Devices

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Emergency responders could soon be using fewer computing devices.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to “shrink the footprint of the devices” employees carry, Chief Information Officer Adrian Gardner said at a panel in Washington on Wednesday.

FEMA covers the contiguous United States as well as overseas territories including Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Guam -- and devices need to work in both regions. The agency is considering a multipurpose, mobile “tablet sort of platform," as well as systems that could be used both during emergencies and during quiet periods in between, he said, speaking at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference. 

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A separate FEMA effort aims to standardize and centralize government-issued laptops, Gardner said. 

For instance, FEMA has historically housed employee laptops in various distribution centers, ”which means that then, when you bring them back online, they have to be patched,” Gardner said.

Instead, FEMA is considering adjusting its workflow to keep computers on a “blue wire” so they’re “continually up to date."

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