In the Department’s first Open Government plan, the Department selected Virtual USA (or vUSA) as its Flagship Initiative. vUSA is an innovative information-sharing initiative that draws on practitioner input to help federal, state, local and tribal first responders collaborate to make fast, well-informed decisions.
vUSA integrates existing frameworks and investments to provide real-time access to operational information—such as weather conditions, traffic, the location and operational status of critical infrastructure, fuel supplies, availability of emergency shelters and medical facilities, and other critical information—that allows users to improve situational awareness and to respond quickly in emergencies.
The Department utilized vUSA during the Deep Water Horizon Oil spill response in conjunction with other federal entities.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign
DHS launched the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign Challenge, which called on the public and private sector companies to develop creative and innovative ways to enhance awareness of cybersecurity. Based on the winning proposals, DHS launched the “Stop. Think. Connect.” cybersecurity awareness campaign—a national initiative that promotes simple steps the public can take to increase their safety and security online. The campaign fulfills a key element of President Obama’s 2009 Cyberspace Policy Review, which tasked DHS with developing a public awareness campaign to inform Americans about ways to use technology safely.