Homeland Security lists systems priorities

The Homeland Security Department's IT team identified eight priorities for their 2004 to-do list.

At a Tuesday meeting sponsored by the Washington chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, DHS chief technology officer Lee Holcomb said department brass must still bless the list but he expects few changes.

The list reiterates many of the efforts that the department has been working on since it opened for business early last year:

  • Information sharing, within the department as well as across the federal civilian and military sectors, the vendor community and the public

  • Consolidation and shuttering of duplicative systems

  • IT security

  • Creation of one IT infrastructure

  • Refinement of the department's enterprise architecture

  • Portfolio management

  • Oversight of IT operations, part of which will involve bringing needed capabilities into the department

  • Development of IT human capital within the department and in the vendor community.

As DHS officials consolidate systems, the total number of systems in the department might not decrease in proportion because elements of particular systems would be reused in other systems, noted Holcomb.

Holcomb spoke on a panel with other systems chiefs from the department. Looking back at the previous year's accomplishments, the IT executives cited various successes, ranging from creating the Transportation Security Administration to creating an enterprise architecture for the 22 agencies that DHS subsumed.

To help plan the merger of the component agencies, DHS officials met with industry executives who had participated in large-scale mergers, notably Carly Fiorina, chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., who managed that company's merger with Compaq Computer Corp. The DHS came away with the notion that it was necessary to assemble a fully working integration team, Holcomb said.

"We were really unable to put together a fully resourced integration team," he said. "We have had to build that. That has been the most negative aspect" of the merger process.

Wilson P. Dizard III writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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