Homeland Security juggles architectural challenges

Not only does the Homeland Security Department need to develop a unified IT architecture for its 22 component agencies, but it has to have something in place for developing the fiscal 2005 budget over the summer, a representative said today at the FOSE 2003 conference in Washington.

During the fiscal 2005 budget process from June to August, the CIO's office "will have to find some deliverables" to support the HSD agencies, said Amy Wheelock, co-chair of Homeland Security's Border and Transportation Architecture Working Group. Agency investments will be reviewed for consistency with long-term enterprise architecture goals.

Wheelock, who started today on a detail to HSD CIO Steve Cooper's office from the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Office of Strategic Information and Technology Development, led a FOSE panel discussion on developing Homeland Security's enterprise architecture.

Last year, INS, which is now part of Homeland Security, and the Patent and Trademark Office did some pilot work on the reference models that the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office is developing, Wheelock said.

Many architecture-related products are not yet mature enough for Homeland Security's needs, said Richard Verhanovitz, Lockheed Martin Corp.'s chief architect for advanced concepts. The company has been working with various federal agencies to establish certification programs for enterprise architecture tools.

Top HSD officials should start by defining the business processes that secretary Tom Ridge needs and work down from there, Verhanovitz said. They also need to scope out overlapping business processes among Homeland Security's component agencies.

Maureen Lischke, the National Guard's CIO, said her bureau's role in enterprise architecture has been to define what data needs to go to whom and when.

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