Homeland Security ready to consolidate infrastructure

HERSHEY, Pa. ? The Homeland Security Department will set up a working capital fund to pay for its IT infrastructure consolidation work.

Chief Information Officer Steve Cooper said yesterday that the Homeland Security Department Financial Accountability Act, H.R. 4259, lets the agency use funding from each directorate to pay for intra-agency projects.

"We are working with the Chief Financial Officer's Office on the formula for how much each directorate will pay and what they will pay for," Cooper said at the 14th annual Executive Leadership Conference sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council and the American Council for Technology. "Other departments have done this, and we hope to learn from their lessons and apply them."

Cooper said his office would release the first set of requests for proposals for infrastructure consolidation work by early January. The department has been realigning staff to handle what it is calling the domain acquisitions.

"We've been doing a lot of stuff below the ground level, and we are close to finishing," he said. "That is the foundation, and now we are building the structure of the house."

The infrastructure consolidation work includes merging five unclassified wide area networks and continuing to reduce the number of e-mail systems in use, Cooper said. The department also plans to consolidate services for help desk, IT security, integration and collaboration support.

Cooper also said his office is following the Defense Department's work on the Global Information Grid and considering how to use a similar network.

"Our technical people and our architects have been having conversations and briefings with DOD people about the GIG," Cooper said.

DHS also is developing a dual gateway between the Homeland Security Data Network and DOD's Secret IP Router Network. "It is highly probably that the Homeland Security Data Network will become the civilian agency equivalent of SIPRnet," Cooper said.

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