Reports criticize DHS for lack of progress on IT
There are also lessons for those seeking consolidation of U.S. intelligence agencies
Computerworld - As the debate about adding a national intelligence director proceeds, two government reports are shedding new light on an existing dilemma: If DHS CIO Steven Cooper can't wrestle the agency's sprawling bureaucracy into submission, can any IT manager be expected to help fix the nation's problems with terrorism information sharing?
In July, the DHS inspector general issued a report concluding that Cooper didn't have the political clout needed to develop an enterprise architecture integrating the IT systems at the 22 agencies within the DHS.
Cooper "is not a member of the senior management team with authority to strategically manage department-wide technology assets and programs," the inspector general's report said. It added that there is no formal reporting relationship between Cooper and the CIOs of major DHS components.
In another report submitted to Congress on Aug. 6 and made public this week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the DHS "does not yet have the necessary architectural blueprint to effectively guide and constrain its ongoing business transformation efforts and the hundreds of millions of dollars that it is investing in supporting information technology assets."
According to the GAO, the current version of the DHS's IT blueprint "is missing most of the content necessary to be considered a well-defined architecture." The GAO described it as "the result of an amalgamation of the existing architectures that several of DHS's predecessor agencies already had."
In a written response to the inspector general's report, DHS Deputy Secretary Adm. James Loy disagreed that Cooper should be part of the senior executive team reporting directly to him. The CIO is "already an integral member at each level of the IT investment review process," Loy wrote.
The DHS acknowledged the problems with its enterprise architecture in a response to the GAO report. But the agency added that the GAO had measured its progress against "unrealistic" expectations about how comprehensive the first version of the architecture would be.
The DHS's IT budget for fiscal year 2004 was about $4 billion -- the third largest IT budget in the federal government. And in the year since the agency was established, its CIO has led several initiatives to boost connectivity among the department's 22 legacy agencies, including linking e-mail systems and providing access to a shared online intranet portal. But the larger tasks of identifying departmentwide IT assets and creating a consolidated and secure IT infrastructure have yet to be accomplished, according to the inspector general's report.
Sateesh Lele, a former CIO at Avon Products Inc. and General Motors Corp.'s European operations, said cultural change from the top
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Path Selection Infographic
- Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic
- A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era
- From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs
- If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity... All Government IT White Papers
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- All Government IT Webcasts